A handful of matches of interest yesterday. Did anyone record the epic 1-0 Leichtenstein v andorra match. They must surely be releasing this mouthwatering affair on DVD soon?
Brum and Ipswich won their Carling Cup ties, as the research hinted at , and Partick won an epic 4-5 Challenge Cup match, being 4-3 down until the 90th minute ( reactive traders could have backed Partick at massive odds!)

Man Utd XI went down 2-1 to Aberdeen and I suppose the clue was in the fact that the team was named as Man Utd XI and not Man Utd.

International Friendlies take centre stage today and I would be treading cautiously with the domestic and international seasons beginning in ernest this weekend. Managers will not want their stars to be wasting energy and inviting possible injury in meaningless mid week matches.

1130am – Japan v Venezuela – 1.51 home – Japan have lost only twice in their last 25 matches in all competitions. Both defeats were 1-0 v Korea and Uzbekistan. Only 1 defeat in last 18 at home for Japan but there have been questionable opponents such as Oman, Jordan, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
9 clean sheets in the last 11 matches though augurs well.Japan have won their last 7 friendlies, which have all been at home. Good momentum.
Only 1 win in last 7 for Venezuela was against the might of Moldova. 8 defeats and wins v Moldova and Guinea in the last 10 friendlies suggests the market is right here. They failed to score in 6 of those 8 defeats so perhaps a win to nil for Japan could enhance their odds? 1-0, 2-0 perhaps to Japan who don’t tend to score too many. Remember folks it’s a friendly so team changes have not been factored in here.

12pm – South Korea v Zambia – 1.59 home – Zambian are the new African Cup of Nations Champions so are not to be taken lightly. Only 3 defeats in last 17 in all competition for Korea , and those defeats were against Spain, Lebanon and Japan. Only 3 defeats in last 37 at home for Korea is really strong form. Those defeats were all 1-0’s against Serbia, Belarus and Iran.
Korea’s last 7 friendlies have all been over 2.5 goals . The last 3 friendlies against African opponents finished in a 4-2 loss to Zambia, and 2-1 wins over Ghana and Nigeria.

15 wins, 3 defeats ( all 0-1) and 2 draws in their last 20 home friendlies.
The last 5 home friendlies were over 2.5 goals, and both teams scored in the last 4 home friendlies.

Zambia’s last 5 defeats have all come against African opponents.Zambia’s last 4 matches in the African Cup of Nations saw them keep a clean sheet. Only 4 wins in the last 14 friendlies were against Yemen, swaziland, India and Zimbabwe, all footballing powerhouses.
Zambia have failed to score in 5 of their last 6 away friendlies, albeit all against African opponents.

This is tough for me to get an angle in. A look at Korea’s form suggests goals and not being beaten. Zambia though have not scored in 5 of last 6 away friendlies. I always prefer to see stats where both teams are pulling in the same direction. I don’t see that here. Remember we don’t need to bet just because we’ve done the research.

315pm – FC Pokkeripood v Levadia Tallinn – 1.01 away – usually the rule is that a team as short priced as Levadia should score 4/5 minimum to nil. This certainly enhances the 1.01 odds.

4pm – Finland U21 v Lithuania U21 – 1.52 home

4pm – Russia v Ivory Coast – 2 home – Russia have , from memory, had a tendency to struggle internationally and while 2 is a tad high, it could be layable. But will Drogba et al really be out for Ivory Coast?

7pm – Bulgaria v Cyprus – 1.6 home – only 4 wins in last 20 in all competitions for Bulgaria against Wales , Saudi Arabia, Cyprus (1-0) and Saudi arabia. Bulgaria have not scored in their last 6 home matches in all competitions. Surely this is an angle in – glass half full—–> Bulgaria will end this barren spell at 1.6 odds.
Glass half empty – – – > Bulgaria have trouble scoring, and with a 1-0 win over Cyprus in a March 2011 friendly, 0-0 could be backed here as a back to lay trade, and the Bulgarians could easily be layed at odds on. 7 of their last 9 friendlies have seen wins to nil for either side. Bulgaria have not scored in their last 2 home friendlies.

Only 1 win in their last 15 matches in all competitions for Cyprus was a 3-2 against Moldova. This about tells you where Cyprus are in the football food chain.
Their last 3 draws have been 0-0 and with Bulgaria so poor recently from a goalscoring perspective, 0-0 must have a chance of longevity throughout this match?
Only 1 win in their last 26 away matches was a 1-0 against Andorra.
In friendlies, Cyrpus have only won 1 in their last 6. In their last 18 away friendlies since 1992, Cyprus have won only 2.

Cyrpus look layable but then so do Bulgaria! 0-0 for me would be the angle in here in the hope that Cyprus continue to underperform internationally and Bulgaria continue to struggle at home ( no goal in 6).
A 1-0 home win is the logical call away from the 0-0. Remember folks these are 2 poor teams and the words ” reliable betting medium” and “Bulgaria v Cyprus” should not be in the same sentence.

7pm – Norway v Greece – 2.1 home – think Greece, think lack of goals! The last time these 2 met was in 2007 so it is not a good gauge for research purposes.
Norway have looked to keep it tight in recent matches, only losing 1-0 to England and drawing 1-1 with Croatia. Their 4-1 loss to Wales saw 2 Welsh goals in the 88th and 89th minutes which looks to me like Norway taking their eye off the ball. In their last 5 matches, Norway have scored in the 61st, 84th, 44th, 88th, 90th, and 90th minutes. All of those were friendly matches and almost exclusively in the 2nd half. Now remember they are playing Greece today and Greece don’t like conceding ( well that’s the general consensus) so perhaps it will be in the 2nd half that we’ll see goals?
11 wins in their last 15 home matches saw 2 0-1 losses to England and Ukraine and 2 1-1 draws. Norway look in good order at home?
Norway went 19 friendlies without a draw until their 1-1 with Croatia ( and that was care of a 90th minute goal so could so easily have kept that no draw sequence alive).
5 under 2.5 goals matches in their last 7 is typical of Greece. The 2 overs matches were in the Euro 2012 Tournament.
6 draws, a loss and a win in their last 8 friendlies. 7 of those 8 friendlies were under 2.5 goals.
Can we make a case for opposing goals with a Norway side who scored 4 of their last 6 matches in the 84th minute and over.

7pm – Sweden v Brazil – 2.06 away – Sweden at home have usually been tough to beat hence the cautious over evens quote about Brazil. Note too that this Brazil side might be “european player ” based.

7pm – Ukraine v Czech Republic – 2.42 home

715pm – Denmark v Slovakia – 1.68 home

730pm – Croatia v Switzerland – 1.85 home

745pm – Belgium v Netherlands – 2.42 away- we are unlikely to see Mary-Anne Fellaini’s Jackson 5 hair , or a majority of the Dutch stars with the new season 3 days away. Team news a key. The hint is in the odds – 2.42 away for Dutch – instinct suggests they should be a tad shorter.

745pm – Germany v Argentina – 2.34 home

745pm – Northern Ireland v Finland – 2.74 away

745pm – Serbia v Rep of Ireland – 1.8 home – again heavy odds on here suggests big changes in the Irish ranks. Serbia are pants. Ireland are missing Doyle and Keane and instinct suggests a lack of goals here. 1.8 for Serbia is certainly layable but Ireland with so many changes cannot really be trusted.

745pm – Wales v Bosnia – 2.72 home, 2.82 away

8pm – France v Uruguay – 2.1 home

8pm – Italy v England – 2.54 away – wholesale changes for both sides from the sides which met in the Euros means that any research will be tainted. The only angle in seems to be in opposing goals and that could mean backing 0-0 pre match and hoping for defensive dullness.

8pm – Scotland v Australia – 2.48 home

845pm – Iceland v Faroe Islands – 1.38 home

9pm – Portugal v Panama – 1.28 home

930pm – Portugal v Panama – 1.07 away