Greece World Cup Betting Preview
Greece odds and free bets for 2010 World Cup
Greece are a nation with very limited World Cup history. It is hard to believe that, although being 2004 European Champions, Greece have only ever played in one World Cup, in USA back in 1994. By qualifying for South Africa, Greece will be playing in their 2nd World Cup and only their 5th major international tournament.
Greece were somewhat fortunate when it came to qualifying for the World Cup, as, thanks to their high FIFA ranking when the groups were drawn, Greece were one of the top seeds. They were drawn alongside Switzerland, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg and Moldova in an easy group and went on to finish as runners up behind Switzerland. This awarded them with a playoff against Ukraine, which they won 1-0 on aggregate, with a 1-0 win away in Donetsk.
Greece’s famed Euro 2004 victory was very much based on a solid defence. However, this defensive record seemed to desert them during qualification, recording only 3 clean sheets during the group. Their defensive prowess seemingly returned during the playoff tie with Ukraine, as they kept clean sheets home and away. However, the defence should not be the ones praised for their qualification. That, instead, should fall to their striker, Theofanis Gekas, who led the scoring charts for all European groups, scoring 10 goals during the 10 qualification games. Gekas was involved in a controversial move to Portsmouth in the 2008-2009 season, when Tony Adams signed him just days before being sacked. Paul Hart took over, and Gekas was left out frequently. He went on to play only 1 minute of league football for Portsmouth and openly criticised Hart. Gekas has a tremendous goal scoring record for Greece, having scored 20 goals in 45 games. Greece were famously 150/1 outsiders to win Euro 2004, and the odds on Gekas to be the World Cup’s leading goalscorer are also 150/1. This shows how unlikely it is, but also that it is possible. If Greece are to produce something similar to their Euro 2004 form then they will be relying heavily on Gekas for goals.
Greece have been drawn in a fairly tough group, with Argentina, South Korea and Nigeria. Argentina are likely to win the group, so it comes down to looking at the other 3 teams. South Korea, who did very well as hosts back in 2002, are unlikely to produce similar sorts of results that saw them finish 4th at that World Cup. Greece are 8/1 to win the group, which is unlikely to happen. More likely is them to have a shot at qualification, and 13/10 is a decent price. However, to make the assumption that Argentina will win the group, means that ‘to qualify’ could almost be taken as ‘to finish 2nd’. Greece are available at 5/2 to finish 2nd in the group or 2/1 to finish third. The odds on Greece not to qualify are around 8/11. Greece, South Korea and Nigeria all have odds of worse than evens not to qualify, which reflects the bookmakers view that they are all fighting for one qualification spot.
Recommended bets: Greece not to qualify (8/11 with skybet)
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