Group H in the balance as Montenegro look to defy the odds

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England remain two points off Montenegro after their 8-0 thumping of San Marino, which provided Roy Hodgson’s men with a useful warm-up for their clash with the group leaders in Podgorica on Tuesday.

Hodgson will need a performance of note from his men to leapfrog a Montenegro outfit which has won four straight; the hosts are generously priced at 4/1 to win the group, while at 1/3 England offer little value to do the same.

The early match betting has England strong 4/5 favourites to win in Montenegro, however the pair have drawn both of their previous clashes (Euro 2012 qualifying) – a result that certainly tempts at 11/5.

Reigning champions Spain were held to a 1-1 draw by Finland in Gijon, and are in danger of being unable to defend their title in Brazil after France gained a hold on top spot in Group I with a 3-1 win over Georgia.

France lead Los Rojos by two points going into Tuesday’s potentially decisive clash in Paris, and having taken a draw away from Spain back in October they should be confident of earning a similar result on home turf.

11/10 for France to win the group certainly tempts, while 4/6 seems a short price for a Spain side which has drawn two of four thus far, and which some believe are on the decline – albeit relatively.

All six World Cups held in South America have been won by a country from that continent, and while Brazil, the competition’s most successful side, will always find backers on home turf, perennial rivals Argentina look an increasingly credible alternative after dispatching Venezuela 3-0 on Friday.

Those inclined to back Argentina to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in 2014 can do so at 9/2 – an enticing price for what is a prodigiously gifted squad. However, they still lie behind Brazil at this early stage, with the Selecao 7/2 to win the competition on home soil.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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