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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

My bet last week was unsuccessful -- not one country won, but three out of the four selected still qualified for the second round of the World Cup. There were more shocks, with Senegal beating the Swedes the United States as hot as chili in dumping out Mexico.

My three World Cup bets involving Brazil are still running at least until Friday's kickoff.

WORLD CUP 2002



On Friday, England takes on the Brazilians in the quarterfinals at 10:30 a.m., and I believe the winner of the World Cup will come from this match. Both teams are on top form and although the Brazilians are traditionally the ones to beat they will not be relishing this match. The South Americans are favorites to win but the value is most definitely with England at 3.00–2/1. England destroyed Denmark 3-0 and is now champing at the bit to take on a Brazil side that, quite frankly, looked very ordinary when it beat Belgium 2-0. This is undoubtedly England's biggest game since 1966 and I believe it will win.

The Germans play the United States on Friday afternoon. The men from across the pond have really done well to get this far, but this will be their first game against opponents of this caliber. I know it's dangerous to go with the favorites at the moment but I see Germany winning this one within 90 minutes at 1.57–4/7.

On Saturday morning Spain plays South Korea. Even though Spain made hard work of the Irish I think it will beat Korea, maybe again in extra time or penalties, so take the price to qualify for the semifinals at 1.80–4/5. In the afternoon two of the surprise teams of the tournament meet, Senegal and Turkey. Neither country has appeared in the semifinals before so its good to see some new blood this year. Turkey did well to beat one of the host nations, Japan, in the last round and only lost 2-1 to Brazil in the group stages. Senegal has been impressive throughout the tournament, and coming from 1-0 down to beat Sweden 2-1 in extra time shows great resilience. I see Senegal becoming the first African nation to make it to a World Cup semifinal so back it to win at 1.80–4/5. Here are my predictions all the way to the final.

Quarterfinals


England 1, Brazil 0
Senegal 2, Turkey 1 (aet)
Germany 2, U.S. 1
Spain 1, South Korea 1 (pens)

Semifinals


England 2, Senegal 1
Germany 0, Spain 1

Final


England 3, Spain 1

WIMBLEDON 2002



Wimbledon starts on Monday. Strawberries and cream and more Anna Kournikova photo shoots -- it's what she does best. This year the tennis looks less interesting than normal, as top-class grass court players are becoming a little rare these days. However, this does make the betting more interesting, as this is the most open of championships -- as far as the men's singles is concerned -- for years.

In the men's draw we have co-favorites Leyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Tim Henman all at 5.50–9/2. On form the pick of these is clearly Hewitt following his win over Henman at Queen's last week. Agassi has won Wimbledon but is at his best on intermediate surfaces. If he wins he may retire and play happy families with Stephie.

The value lies further down the draw with proven grass court performers, such as Greg Rusedski seeded 25 at 41.00–40/1. If you fancy a big price Cedric Pioline -- finalist in 1997-- is 151.00–150/1.

Marat Safin has to be respected this year, as his big, consistent serve is a danger on grass, and many doubters forget he is only 22 and still learning on this surface. Last year he lost in a close-fought four-setter to Goran Ivanisevic; this year he is a better player and should be respected at 17.00–16/1.

My selection is none of the above. It is Mark Philippoussis who is lowly ranked following injury but showed he retains his ability, albeit rusty, by beating Rusedski at Queen's last week. This year is a weak Wimbledon and so at 21.00–20/1, Philippoussis, if he can play his way through the early rounds, will be difficult to beat with some extra match practice under his belt. He will form part of my bet of the week.

The kitty is in desperate need of a cash injection and stands at $122.

CHARITY BET



Last week's bets have only just started, so more news on them next week. This week's charity bet from our man in a Panama at the All England Club, downing a Pimm's and munching on a portion of strawberries and cream: 250 rubles on Tim Henman to win the men's at 5.50–9/2 and 250 rubles on Jennifer Capriati to win the women's at 7.00–6/1.

The charity fund is standing at 14,363 rubles, with last week's bets and 4 ante post bets running.

BET OF THE WEEK



$5 each way single

Wimbledon



Philippoussis to win 21.00-20/1

$10 single

England to win 3.00–2/1

(kickoff 10:30 a.m. Friday)

Possible winnings -- $190

Frank Caruana is the manager of Sportland. Contact him at Soothsayer@imedia.ru