Carlos Quieroz’s Portugal side certainly look a less appealing bet at 22/1 to win the World Cup following a humiliating draw with Cape Verde Island in a World Cup warm-up match last night.
With their opposition ranked a whopping 114 places below Portugal in the latest FIFA rankings, it wasn’t clear just what advantages a full-strength Portuguese side would gain from playing an international minnow.
And after a 0-0 draw in which Portugal’s attacking quartet of Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Liedson and Nani failed to find the net, it seems that the game only served to highlight that the Ivory Coast, along with Brazil, might now be worth a punt on making the last 16 from Group G.
There were no such wobbles for Argentina though, who as expected strolled to a 5-0 victory over Canada, though it was noticeable that Lionel Messi was left on the bench for the whole game, after taking a knock in training over the weekend.
Argentina remain 8/1 fourth favourites for the tournament, but any lingering fitness doubts over their main man will need to be addressed before their opener against Nigeria.
The toughest friendly work-out was had by the hosts, as South Africa kept their unbeaten run going – they’ve not lost in 12 games – with a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria, once again suggesting that Carlos Alberto Parreira’s outfit might yet have it in them to make it through Group A – they’re 5/1 to finish top.