Spain stunned on an awkward first day for men’s football frontrunners

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Any punters who thought that Brazil and Spain were going to prove dominate the men’s football at London 2012 were given reason to reassess on an eventful opening day of the competition.

Spain fell victim to the biggest shock at Hampden Park as they were beaten 1-0 by unfancied Japan, and while they weren’t helped by Inigo Martinez’s red card before half-time, they were already trailing and being outplayed before that.

Favourites Brazil started as if motivated by the setback that had befallen their perceived main rivals for gold and led Egypt 3-0 within 30 minutes as Rafael da Silva, Leandro Damiao and Neymar ran riot.

Egypt showed plenty of fight in the second half though to pull things back to 3-2, however Mano Menezes’ side – who have never actually won the men’s tournament before despite regularly reaching the latter stages – held on.

As that was arguably their toughest Group C fixture, it was still a very encouraging result, with the consequence being that they are halfway to reaching the quarter-finals, explaining why they have come in to 10/11 to finally strike gold.

Spain by contrast have drifted to 4/1, a price that puts them only narrowly clear of Uruguay (5/1), who didn’t have everything their own way in their encounter with a UAE team who proved more threatening than most expected.

They took the lead in their Group A tie at Old Trafford but Uruguay rallied through alleged Liverpool target Gaston Ramirez and Nicolas Lodeiro and, as Great Britain and Senegal drew later in the evening, are top of the table.

Senegal’s tough tackling stole the headlines on the competitive debut of Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain, yet it shouldn’t detract from the fact that – as in their friendly with Brazil – they looked some distance short of gold-medal potential.

That is reflected in the odds of 12/1 on them claiming the top prize.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.