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To get you in the mood, we've asked Stuart Newman to give us the lowdown on the opening game out in Brazil. How does he think the games will turn out?
The World Cup gets underway on Thursday and we're almost as excited about it as we are when we think about the League One fixtures coming out next week!
Thursday 12th June will see the hosts take on Croatia in Sao Paolo to get the party started, as the five-time champions start their quest for trophy number six.
There’s nothing quite like a World Cup curtain-raiser, is there? Over recent tournaments we’ve seen some incredible matches to kick off the summer’s action – Senegal’s triumph over reigning champions France in 2002 and Germany’s 4-2 thrashing of Costa Rica to name a couple of classics.
With Brazil heavily fancied for a dominant display for the word ‘go’, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side are 66/1 with Sky Bet to repeat the Germans’ exploits and start with a 4-2 victory.
With a wealth of attacking talent at their disposal, the hosts always have a goal in them. In fact, Brazil have failed to register on the scoresheet just once since June 2012, making the over 2.5 goals odds of 5/6 look appealing.
In Neymar, Brazil have one of the hottest properties in world football destined for a World Cup campaign to remember. Kicking things off against Croatia, the Barcelona man is 11/4 to score first/last, 3/1 to get a brace and 12/1 to score a hat-trick with Sky Bet.
Such is the beauty of football that there’s always a side that play the role of the party poopers, and Niko Kovac’s Croatians will be looking to be just that and get their Group A campaign off to a flyer at Brazil’s expense.
Croatia are 10/1 with the U's official betting partners to cause an upset in Sao Paolo, with the 2-1 scoreline at 33/1 a tempting offer.
With Mario Mandzukic suspended for the World Cup opener, Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic’s odds of getting his name on the scoresheet are the shortest - sitting at 4/1 with Sky Bet.