Football: World Cup - World Cup Betting

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LUCKY, LUCKY Norway can take Italy to extra time in their second round World Cup showdown in Marseilles this afternoon in a match which promises to end as a draw (perhaps 1-1) over 90 minutes.

The Norwegians, who did us a favour and a half when beating Brazil at odds of 5-1 with a highly dubious late penalty earlier in the week, are clearly no great shakes but they usually manage to get the ball in the net once and are fancied to contain the Azzurri, who have been less penetrative than might have been expected, over 90 minutes at least.

Neither Roberto Baggio nor Alessandro Del Piero have really made that playmaker/striker role their own in the first- round games, but the one man who has done the business for us so far is the much maligned but clearly reliable Christian Vieri, who again looks the best bet to be first goalscorer.

Vieri's first touch might not be the best, but his pace and aerial power have earned him four goals already and it would be no surprise to see him get on the scoresheet again today.

Brazil worried a few people by going down to Norway in the week but, if there is one rule the football punter must remember it is this: if a team has nothing to gain by winning, then it probably won't. Mario Zagallo's men showed us this in the week and Nigeria gave an even better demonstration against Paraguay.

Brazil never came out of second gear when making the actually quite useful Morocco look dismal in their previous game and they are fancied to dispatch Chile in 90 minutes (perhaps 2-1) in St-Denis tonight.

Ronaldo has yet to impose himself on these finals and the blinding pace which can make him impossible to man mark or even double man mark has been less than evident so far. But the great man scored a brilliant goal against Morocco and has probably been saving himself for the knock-out stages. Given anything like a decent service from Rivaldo and marauding full-backs Roberto Carlos and Cafu, Ronaldo should terrorise the Chilean defence relentlessly. Any side that has Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano up front must be fancied to score at least once in 90 minutes, but Brazil can be relied on to get at least two to proceed to the quarter-finals.

Winners this week have include: Germany to beat Iran 2-0 (7-1), Norway (5-1), Morocco (3-1), Colombia to beat Tunisia 1-0 (11-2), Oliver Bierhoff (100-30) Christan Vieri (twice - 9-2 and 7-2) to be first goal-scorers.