Whate were the odds in the tournaments?

Discussion in 'Soccer History' started by PuckVanHeel, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Agree with comme in this case.

    Also, it was also well known that Bilardo selected talent wise not his best squad. Based on talent and football-qualities alone the likes of attacking midfielder Marcico and defensive midfielder Barbas would have been included. The observers obviously saw what Bilardo was about to do, and whether his selected material could live up to the expectations.

    You are right that some official games leading up to the World Cup were not impressive, the friendly against France at March 1986 (at Parc des Princes) being one of those. But you'd be surprised to know which Argentinian midfielder was among the most disappointing players (the new prodigy Claudio Borghi was arguably the most disappointing one and this forward received a red card when the friendly progressed).

    Apparently the bookmakers were able to look past all of this, and also take into account the venue (with the experience of 1970 still fresh in the mind).
  2. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    I understand the issue about the venue. Altitude plus heat are definitely troublesome conditions to pretty much everybody, but the fact that the tournament was to be held in Latin America I am sure had important influence in those estimations.

    Is it possible for you to share any of this tournament previews? Would really like to see what was said at the time (just before the tournament).
  3. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    By the highlighted part, do you mean that otherwise Argentina would have been the top favorite instead of Brazil?
    Márcico may be somewhat of an underrated player, I think. Very good player. But with Maradona himself, Borghi, Bochini... Not sure there would have been need for him. Would have ended up warming the bench much like Borghi and Bochini did in the end... He was part of the 1983 Copa America squad (starter, I think) and did not quite manage to impress. Was Márcico much better than any of them at the time? Same with Barbas. According to whom he would have been included based on talent and qualities? If we take the rates from DbsCalcio, he really was no longer as outstanding a performer as he had been in his first couple of seasons with Zaragoza now that he had just dropped from Serie A to Serie B with Lecce.
    One can take pretty much any edition of the WC and claim this or that guy should have been included...

    And France wasnt even a "great team"... ;)
  4. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    The gap in the odds with Brazil in 1986 was very close. Maybe that close gap would have stayed that way under any circumstance.

    Bilardo himself said that he didn't select the best players for his team, for the best football.

    This as response to this part:
    Bookmakers could look past the fact that it had not much fancied names.
  5. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    And what was there to be seen past the fact that it had not much fancied names in your opinion?

    Ok, but you did not answer my question. What did you mean with "The observers obviously saw... "?

    Do you know what exactly Bilardo said? Did he perse speak of Márcico and Barbas?
  6. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    #56 Vegan10, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
    Greetings Once,

    Doing a quick search, I found how the New York Times previewed the event. And if I get the chance I'll see if I can find what some other newspapers were saying as well.

    But for now you may find this long preview informative (it breaks down each team of every group).

    Published: May 25, 1986

    THE WORLD CUP, soccer's premier event, which stirs most of the world's sporting passions every four years, opens at majestic Azteca Stadium in Mexico City Saturday afternoon. Italy, the defending champion, meets Bulgaria in the first match, and the 24-nation tournament - actually the culmination of a 110-nation extravaganza that began two years ago - will conclude there on June 29, with the crowning of the champion.

    In addition to the usual passion and fanaticism that surrounds soccer's ultimate attraction, what makes this World Cup fascinating is that it lacks a clear-cut favorite. Any of perhaps a dozen teams could win. Although experts expect that the South American teams will excel because they are more accustomed to the heat and high altitude, the chances of several European countries look promising for this, the 13th edition of the World Cup.

    The tournament actually kicked off May 2, 1984, with a qualifying match between Austria and Cyprus. There were 312 games played among 110 countries to determine the 22 qualifiers who would join Mexico and Italy as the finalists. The United States was eliminated by Costa Rica in the qualifying rounds.

    Mexico qualified as the host nation and Italy as the defending champion. The Italians won the cup for the third time in the 12th tournament, in Spain in 1982, beating West Germany, 3-1, in the final game. Like that final four years ago, the one in Mexico City will be viewed on television by close to two billion people around the world.

    No European country has won the tournament outside that continent, and Brazil is the only South American nation to have won the cup in Europe - in 1958, in Sweden, when the legendary Pele was a 17-year-old rookie.

    Last December, the 24 finalists were divided by draw into six groups for the first-round matches, which will be played at 12 stadiums in 9 Mexican cities. Each team will play each of the other three in its group. The top two from each group, plus the four third-place teams with the best records, will advance to the next round. Goal differential will be used to break ties in the standings of the round-robin format in the first round.

    Single-elimination matches will be used after the first round. The third-place match on June 28 will be between the losers of the semifinals, with the winners meeting the next day for the championship.

    Following is a preview of each country in the tournament. GROUP A: Argentina, Italy, Bulgaria, South Korea

    Argentina has the best team in the group and is considered one of the top contenders for the championship. With Diego Maradona and Daniel Passarella, who both play for top club teams in Italy, leading the way, the Argentines are expected to overcome internal feuding between the coach and his predecessor's supporters. Coach Carlos Bilardo has a very different philosophy from Cesar Luis Menotti, who coached Argentina to its only title, in 1978, preferring a much more defensive style. Bilardo has been widely criticized by advocates of Menotti's approach.

    Italy should be the other team to advance easily in this group, whose tempo may very well be set by the outcome of the opening game between Italy and Bulgaria. As they did four years ago in Spain, the Italians go into the tournament having played poorly for the past two years - they failed even to qualify for the finals of the 1984 European championship -but they cannot be counted out. They have several good defenders and an experienced coach in Enzo Bearzot. Uncertainties arise in midfield and attack, where many of the places in the Italian League are filled with foreigners.

    Bulgaria has made changes in its bid to succeed. It has reinstated on the national team two players who had been suspended for life and for one year, respectively, for their roles in a brawl after the nation's championship cup final last year. The goalkeeper Boris Mikhailov, who is rated as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, was banned for life, and the striker Nasko Sirakov was suspended for a year - until the national team needed them.

    South Korea is viewed as easy prey. It is 32 years since South Korea last qualified for the final round. Although this is South Korea's best team in four decades, with a solid defense, it will be lucky to manage a point from its three matches in the first round. GROUP B: Mexico, Belgium Paraguay, Iraq

    Mexico should finish first in this group and advance to the next phase. The players have two substantial advantages - they are familiar with the high altitude and they will play all their first-round games at Azteca Stadium. (Some of the group's games will be played in the nearby city of Toluca.) Coached by Bora Milutinovic, a native of Yugoslavia, Mexico will face its severest test in trying to live up to the pressure of the tradition that the host country does well. To prepare for that, the team has been training together and playing warm-up games for two years, with the notable exception of its striker, Hugo Sanchez, who plays professionally in Spain and could not join the team until two weeks ago.

    If Sanchez blends well into the team and does not become a target of opponents' kicking, as Maradona of Argentina was in Spain, he has a chance to take Mexico a little farther than the quarterfinals, which, in 1970, was the closest the Mexicans have come to the title.

    Paraguay, with the former Cosmos players Julio Cesar Romero and Roberto Cabanas as the integral parts of its attack, is making its first appearance in the final round since 1958 in Sweden. Romero, who plays his club soccer in Brazil, this past season was voted the player of the year in South America. Paraguay will have to fight Belgium for second place in the group, and the outcome of the match between those two, on June 11, may determine who advances.

    Belgium is in high spirits after its recent 2-0 victory over Bulgaria in a warm-up match, a game won despite the absence due to injury of its key midfielder, Enzo Scifo. Erwin Vanderbergh and Jan Ceulemans, who played in the last tournament four years ago, are expected to be the key players on the attack.

    Iraq, making its first appearance, is one of the weakest teams in the tournament. The Iraqis may have more trouble than most teams with the high altitude and will discover that enthusiasm and determination are not enough at this level. GROUP C: Canada, France, Hungary, Soviet Union

    Along with Iraq, Canada is one of the weakest teams in the tournament. The only country among the 24 finalists that does not have a major professional soccer league, Canada also has no world-class stars, little fan support and meager financial backing.

    The coach, Tony Waiters, a native of England, has had little time to prepare his players for Canada's first appearance in the tournament because many of them were playing in the indoor soccer playoffs, in the United States. Branko Segota, the team's top striker, and Tino Lettieri, one of its goalies, were still involved in the indoor finals, whose deciding game will be played tomorrow night, and Waiters was considering not starting them.

    France is considered one of the top challengers for the title because of Michel Platini's ingenuity and a team style similar to that of the South Americans. But France has had little success in past World Cups. Although this is its ninth appearance in the final stages of the tournament, the closest it has come was third in 1958. In Spain four years ago, the French played brilliantly, but in the semifinals against West Germany they blew a 3-1 lead in overtime and lost on penalty kicks. But a strong midfield led by Platini, the greatest schemer in the game today, will almost certainly push France to the next round, and beyond.

    After the team lost four consecutive warm-up matches, the Soviet Union's soccer federation astounded the soccer world by changing coaches 16 days before the opening of the tournament. Valeri Robanovski was put in charge of the team in place of Eduard Malofeyev, a man who was clearly committed to an attacking game. Malofeyev said he was deferring to Robanovski because most of the national team's players come from the club team that Robanovski coaches, Dynamo Kiev. The leader again is Oleg Blokhin, now 33 years old and in his 11th year of being his country's most dangerous attacker.

    Hungary's hopes have been dimmed by injuries to three key players, including Tibor Nyilasi, Hungary's best player the last 10 years. Nyilasi, a forward, had a spine operation last week and will miss the tournament. Marton Esterhazy, whose club team is AEK of Greece, is likely to fill Nyilasi's role. GROUP D: Brazil, Spain, Algeria, Northern Ireland

    Despite injuries to eight players, some of them likely starters, Brazil has good depth and is expected to advance easily from this group. As in 1970, when the tournament was also held in Mexico and the Brazilians won their third world championship, all of Brazil's matches in the first round will be played at Guadalajara's Jalisco Stadium, which has a capacity of 66,200. The Brazilians are popular in Guadalajara, which has a statue in a city square commemorating the victory by Brazil in 1970.

    Unlike 1970, Brazil lacks a player with the virtuosity of Pele or Rivelino, but with some respected veterans, some skillful young players and the familiar surroundings, Brazil is favored to go far in the tournament.

    Spain should finish second in this group and advance, because the Spaniards have become wiser and stronger since their humiliating performances as the host four years ago. Six times in the previous 11 tournaments, the host country had won the cup, but Spain failed to make even the quarterfinals in 1982.

    Under Coach Miguel Munoz, who took over from the Uruguayan-born Jose Santamaria after the 1982 tournament, Spain has been patiently remodeled around a solid defense with Victor Munoz as its backbone. But, like virtually all the teams, Spain lacks a world-class striker.

    Algeria is making its second appearance in the finals and looks capable of pulling off an upset like its 2-1 victory over West Germany in 1982. Coach Rabah Saadane said he was pleased with the group because Brazil and Spain played styles similar to his team's. Lahkdar Belloumi, a creative midfielder who starred in Spain, will again be the playmaker for Algeria.

    Northern Ireland is the odd team out, stylistically. The other three play mostly short passes and attempt to penetrate through the middle; Northern Ireland relies on long passes to its wingers and high crosses in front of the goal. The 40-year-old goalkeeper, Pat Jennings, who recently surpassed by one game the Swede Bjorn Nordqvist's world record of 115 appearances for a national team, is the rock of the Irish defense. Offensively, Northern Ireland counts on Norman Whiteside, a 21-year-old forward, who in 1982 bettered by several months Pele's record of being the youngest player to appear in the World Cup. GROUP E: Uruguay, West Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Nicknamed El Grupo de la Muerte, the Group of Death, this one is undoubtedly the most competitive of all. But Uruguay and West Germany should prevail over a Danish team brimming with talent and a rugged Scottish squad.

    Although Uruguay captured the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, it failed to qualify for the last two tournaments, and did not get past the first round in West Germany in 1974. Having its top players working in leagues outside the country has always been Uruguay's big problem in organizing a national team, and this time is no exception. Its top players have performed for clubs abroad for years, and after Uruguay became the first team to qualify for Mexico 13 months ago, even more of its players were snapped up by clubs in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Spain.

    West Germany is making its ninth consecutive appearance and for the first time lacks a player with the leadership qualities of a Franz Beckenbauer, the leading player of the 1970's, an Uwe Seeler of the 1960's or a Fritz Walter of the 1950's. But it does have Beckenbauer as head coach.

    Bernd Schuster, a star for Barcelona in Spain, could perhaps have provided that leadership from midfield, but Schuster refused to join the team, citing personal reasons. If three key attacking players - Rudi Voller, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Pierre Littbarski - have not fully recovered from their leg injuries, West Germany's record of always reaching at least the quarterfinals in the last eight tournaments might be difficult to maintain.

    Denmark has never had a fully professional league and as a result its best players perform for clubs in other countries, making Denmark the largest exporter of talent in Europe. This generation of players is probably the most gifted ever, as Denmark makes its first appearance in the tournament. Preben Ekjaer-Larsen helped Verona win the Italian championship last year and Michael Laudrup led the attack when Juventus won this year's Italian league title. Those two, along with Morten Olsen, the 37-year-old captain who plays for Anderlecht in Belgium, could make a major impact in Mexico with a team that is considered a dangerous dark horse.

    Scotland is making its fourth consecutive appearance, but it has had problems getting past the first round. And its chances of advancing this time will certainly suffer by the absence due to injury of the veteran midfielder Kenny Dalglish, the player-manager of the English league champion, Liverpool. The talented Graeme Souness will have to take charge of rallying Scotland. GROUP F: Poland, England, Portugal, Morocco

    Poland, which finished third in 1974 and 1982, has the best World Cup record of all nations in the last three tournaments, and so was seeded to head this group. The unfortunate thing for the Poles is that the group will play in Monterrey, a hot, dusty area, comparatively low in altitude, where the temperature at playing time could be as high as 104 degrees. All matches there will be held at 4 o'clock, with none at noon as there are in other venues.

    Altitude will not be a problem at Monterrey, but the teams that advance from this group will be handicapped by having to play in higher venues after the first round with very little time to acclimate themselves.

    Aside from weather conditions, England will have to overcome an unfriendly Mexican public well aware of the reputation of English fans for drunkenness and rowdyism. The English did not do well in Mexico in 1970, when they had at least three world-class players in Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Gordon Banks. This time, the midfielder Glenn Hoddle is the most gifted player, followed by Peter Shilton, the goalkeeper. Coach Bobby Robson has been experimenting, as Shilton and Kenny Sansom, the left fullback, were the only players to compete in all eight qualifying matches.

    Except for Morocco, Portugal should be more accustomed to the Monterrey heat than the others in this group. But the Portuguese are not laden with talent, and their main midfielder, Carlos Manuel, has a pulled muscle and will be out for at least the first game.

    Morocco is considered slightly better than Canada and Iraq, but not good enough to progress beyond the first round. Most of Morocco's players come from the Royal Armed Forces team. The star is Mohamed (Cannonball) Timoumi, the son of a royal palace guard, who was voted top player in Africa last year.

    Drawings; Table of Mexican cities and stadiums in which the World Cup matches will take place, the dates, and the pairings; Table of regional qualifying records of World Cup teams; Map of Mexico outlining cities where the teams will play

    msioux75 and Once repped this.
  7. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #57 PuckVanHeel, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
    All those questions have been answered by me. Yes, Bilardo spoke specifically about a number of names he left out.

    Basically, the team of Argentina wasn't as bad as fans like you want to believe it was (nor was it a big surprise or miracle). Relative to other nations.

    Brazil was in a similar situation in the sense that over the course of years security and stability was preferred over entertainment (though they had also injuries and arguably 1986 was the very last tournament where they showed some form of joga bonito).
  8. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    No, you did not. Those three questions you just quoted, you made sure not to give a propper answer to them. Its ok, though. I am not gonna start chasing you around demanding answers like you yourself do with others. Dont wanna tell? Then dont.
  9. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    Great post Vegan, thanks!
    That is what I was addressing previously. Maradona and Passarella are both thought to be key men of the team. I wonder how much Passarella's inability to play (perhaps as a result of such internal feuding) would have affected Argentina's status as one of the main contenders.

    Also, what do you think is it that made Argentina so highly regarded among title contenders? I mean, other than the two obvious factors I have already mentioned (having Maradona and the tournament not being played in Europe), perhaps the lack of other clear favorites? Because as far as I know, Argentina did not do that well in the qualification stage nor had it done well in the last two country level tournaments (1982 WC still with Menotti and 1983 Copa America already with Bilardo). Puck mentioned a defeat prior to the tournament against France, I dont know about other preparation games. What do you think was making Argentina a favorite?
  10. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    No I did:

    "And what was there to be seen past the fact that it had not much fancied names in your opinion?"

    I've said that Bilardo designed his team in a specific way and sought his personnel for that. They had besides Maradona (and Passerella) also a few other players that were well rated for the job they were supposed to do. Valdano was seen as a fine forward, for example (Spanish player of the season).

    This of course in relation to the projected circumstances and the opposition - and in what way there was a continuity between the friendlies/qualification and the actual plan for the tournament.

    Not only was it expected that Mexico was a disadvantage for the Europeans, with Mexico70 in the background as well, it was also projected that FIFA would protect the superstars, in comparison with 1982. This was actually an explicit order of the FIFA.

    "Ok, but you did not answer my question. What did you mean with "The observers obviously saw... "?"

    This was not your question. You question was: 'By the highlighted part, do you mean that otherwise Argentina would have been the top favorite instead of Brazil?' And that is what I answered. My answer was that the gap in the odds between Brazil and Argentina was close and not significant.

    "Do you know what exactly Bilardo said? Did he perse speak of Márcico and Barbas?"

    Like I said: Bilardo himself made it very clear that he did not necessarily select the players with the most flair. Brazil did something similar by the way when they left out Toninho Cerezo and preferred less stylish players instead. Bilardo said from the very beginning that hard work, stamina and toughness would have been decisive. Or how Luis Zacarius of Peru put it, literally: "Bilardo is a better chemist as manager. He has the ability to let a turtle run at speed, and can let a donkey run faster as a gazelle."
  11. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    A great great post, mate.
    Just a minimal correction, the soviet coach was Valery Lobanovsky.

    Overall an awesome info about the teams.
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
  13. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks, mates.

    Primarily for some of the reasons you mentioned. However, the knee issue that was affecting Maradona remained an enigma. And also how well would he respond to the challenge. That was another question mark.

    In regards to the matches leading up to the tournament: they had also lost to Norway in Oslo, a defeat that only made matters more concerning. But they seemed to have gotten their act together right before the event when they played Israel and Atletico de Barranquilla and some Mexican clubs when they arrived in Mexico. That’s when the team seemed to have found themselves. But in Argentina there were doubts about what this team could really achieve.

    You may also find helpful some additional info from other newspapers from the States that I checked.

    [Click on image to zoom in]

    [This one breaks down each team as well. It's intriguing because it mentions Maradona's knee problem and the questions surrounding the expectations for him, but also boasts that the best player might be Claudio Borghi. This paper seems to not hold them in high regards. France, Brazil, West Germany and Uruguay (for them this team may be the best in South America and the 'best 1-2-3 punch in the world') are their main favorites. Definitely a different view. ]

    [This paper gives an indication that France are the team to watch out with 'arguably' the best player; his main rivals are Maradona and Francescoli]

    [And this paper suggests that France is the best bet from Europe. It states that Platini considers himself to be at the top of his game and that the French team is stronger than in 1982. The paper also states that the two best players in the world are Platini and Maradona]

    I hope you find this helpful. Maybe down the road I'll find more info from different sources.
    tudobem62014 and Once repped this.
  14. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    I still dont understand this phrase you wrote there... What was Bilardo about to do that they saw, other than pick the best players available that best suited to play the way he intended, like probably any other manager?

    So, Argentina did not shine during the qualification stage, continued in similar or worse fashion in preparation games (draws against Mexico and losses agaisnt France and Norway), apparently the internal feuding was a known thing (says so in one of those articles posted by Vegan), Maradona's knee was in doubt... On top of this the team had not much fancied names... So, no fancied names plus mediocre results (and rumours of feuding and the threat of injury of the big star...)... Did these bookmakers have a crystal ball or something? I doesnt sound like a lot of great stuff beyond the not much fancied names in the squad to me...

    I am not asking whether Bilardo said it or not. I am asking you if you know exactly what he said and if he mentioned those specific players. Like I said, with Maradona, Borghi and Bochini I dont think Márcico should have been missed and he wasnt. I already wrote about Barbas too.
  15. Once

    Once Member+

    Apr 16, 2011
    Thanks Vegan!
  16. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Again, I answered the questions. That you do not like the answers or disagree is fine; it is also fine to still believe in the 'Maradona dragged a mediocre team to glory' narrative.

    There is no doubt that Argentina belonged among the favourites (behind Brazil). Previews state this and also a good overview book like Ian Morrison his 'complete record' (published in 1990) state that Argentina and Brazil were the two main favourites.

    I know it will not convince you but if you raise certain problems for Argentina, think about the ones that the other big teams faced.
  17. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    This were the Guerin Sportivo ratings of 1985-86, among the foreigners:

    Guerin Sportivo itself used an average of Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport.

    This is from the tournament preview from Placar:

    There is also an interview with the Brazil NT manager, Tele Santana in the same issue. He reckons, in this order, West Germany, France, Argentina, Denmark and Mexico as the most dangerous opponents.

    For who is interested: among the Dutch population Brazil was the favourite with 30% of the votes (a survey among 2000 persons). West Germany, Denmark, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and France followed with almost exactly equal percentages (around 10%; West Germany had 10%, Mexico had the lowest of this group with 8%).
    Before the final the same group of persons was consulted again. Exactly 69% thought that Argentina would win, 19% saw West Germany as the winner and the others couldn't make a choice ("no clear upper hand").
    PDG1978 repped this.
  18. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I was looking for a World Cup 1994 pull-out magazine I had (Sunday Times) but found just about everything apart from that. That I know had previews and squads for every team and I think profiled a star player (Redondo for Argentina for example I seem to remember) and guessed at the starting line-up. Terry Venables also picked an XI from previous World Cups (but not only based on play in those World Cups, but just picking from players who'd played in at least one - he picked a Christmas Tree formation I remember with Pele and Maradona supporting Van Basten).

    I'll have a look through what I did find but firstly here, from a Shoot preview, are the odds for each team and a comment regarding Euro 88:
    (Note: I didn't expect the Dutch would have been favourites but after their friendly game at Wembley, if the preview was later than that as I assume, I thought that with Gullit and potentially Van Basten they might have been given a better chance by the bookies and Shoot - I'm not writing the longer Shoot verdict but only the shorter 'tip' comment but in the verdict about the Dutch it is written that "Skipper Ruud Gullit and striker Marco van Basten would have graced the great Dutch sides of Johan Cruyff's era").

    West Germany - 7-4 favourites
    Danger Man: Rudi Voller
    Tip: Only a disaster of the highest order will stop them reaching the Final. And it will take a team in top form to stop them winning it.

    England - 4-1
    Danger Man: Gary Lineker
    Tip: Capable of winning it - and a big disappointment if they don't reach the Semis, at least.

    Denmark - 6-1
    Danger Man: Preben Elkjaer
    Tip: Could be surprise early casualties unless Elkjaer and his partner Michael Laudrup turn on the magic.

    Italy - 7-1
    Danger Man: Alessandro Altobelli
    Tip: As unpredictable as ever, but could respond favourably to pressure to reach the Semi-Finals.

    USSR - 7-1
    Danger Man: Igor Belanov
    Tip: Excellent Semi-Final chance.

    Holland - 9-1
    Danger Man: Ruud Gullit
    Tip: Unlikely to survive the preliminary group.

    Spain - 12/1
    Danger Man: Emilio Butragueno
    Tip: If Butragueno sparkles and the defence stands steady they will make the last four. But don't bet on it.

    Republic of Ireland - 25/1 (rank outsiders)
    Danger Man: John Aldridge
    Tip: We hope to be proved wrong, but cannot help but expect an honourable early exit.
    PuckVanHeel repped this.
  19. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    From a Guardian World Cup 1998 pull-out (odds given as part of preview of each team and seem fairly similar to the ones on page 1 of this thread):

    Group A - Brazil 11-4, Morocco 250-1, Norway 33-1, Scotland 150-1.
    Group B - Austria 150-1, Cameroon 150-1, Cile 100-1, Italy 7-1.
    Group C - Denmark 66-1, France 7-1, Saudi Arabia 300-1, South Africa 100-1.
    Group D - Bulgaria 66-1, Nigeria 25-1, Paraguay 80-1, Spain 14-1.
    Group E - Belgium 80-1, Mexico 150-1, Netherlands 9-1, South Korea 300-1.
    Group F - Germany 7-1, Iran 300-1, USA 150-1, Yugoslavia 33-1.
    Group G - Colombia 50-1, England 7-1, Romania 50-1, Tunisia 250-1.
    Group H - Argentina 10-1, Croatia 33-1, Jamaica 300-1, Japan 250-1.
  20. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #70 PuckVanHeel, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013


    From euro88 I have gathered some things too of course.

    A day before euro88 started DPA (German press agency) reported that the bookmakers had West Germany as clear favourite (they had the host advantage obviously), with England and the Netherlands following them. And Italy and USSR closely behind those two. But West Germany had a noticeable gap. It was based on taking the average of several prominent bookies.
    You source is certainly not that strange because there were many uncertainties surrounding the Netherlands of course and in Holland themselves not many people expected an success (a majority thought that they wouldn't survive the first group stage, showed a survey).
    It is true that the Wembley friendly impressed manager Bobby Robson and said that Gullit was the best player of the world for a while (MvB didn't play in that friendly, he was injured). It can be that this changed some predictions.
    Franz Beckenbauer had the most faith in Italy (as favourite besides Germany) and said in January and July 1988 that Ruud Gullit was the best player in the world.

    Many previews noted btw that USSR had a great team, great players and a great playing concept but somehow it wasn't expected that they could go all the way; e.g. despite the quality that could match the very best somehow they had some things going against them.

    Thanks a lot and what you found sounds definitely good.
  21. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Thanks, that seems similar then apart from that the Dutch are more favoured by your source (but could be quite a bit closer to the start - I don't have a date on the supplement I found).

    Looking through the rest of my finds there are no more odds but the Radio Times preview of Euro 92 (with Yugoslavia not Denmark) says "Holland, led again by Ruud Gullit, are bidding to retain the title, but they face stiff opposition from favourites Germany and France, and British hopes Scotland and England". The text is at the start of a preview by Jimmy Hill but it's not clear whether that part is an introduction by the magazine or part of his preview. It's also not clear to me if the favourites are referred to as only Germany or as Germany plus France. There are also profiles of Group 1 teams by John Motson and Group 2 teams by Barry Davies (BBC commentators) so I might add some things from those.

    Other things I found such as a Euro 96 preview book, are more concerned with the general facts about the qualification groups for example. There is also a World Cup 1990 guide by the Independent on Sunday that picks out two players per country and makes a comment about prospects (a Guardian guide also makes a similar guess at prospects but says that 5 are potential finalists, in line with the odds on page 1 of this thread pretty much). I will list the players and prospects as per the Independent on Sunday guide too I think, although odds aren't given (the favourites as per the odds on page 1 of this thread - in the posts of mine that quote comme - are not the ones tipped as finalists by the newspaper interestingly).
  22. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Here are the Independent on Sunday tips from 1990:

    Players to watch: Baresi, Vialli.
    Prospects: semi-finalists, at least.

    Players to watch: Herzog, Rodax.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Griga, Chovanec.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Meola, Perez.
    Prospects: virtually nil.

    Players to watch: Maradona, Caniggia.
    Prospects: quarter-finalists.

    Players to watch: Bell, Biyik.
    Prospects: first-round elimination.

    Soviet Union
    Players to watch: Kuznetsov, Protasov.
    Prospects: semi-finalists.

    Players to watch: Hagi, Lacatus.
    Prospects: first-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Silas, Bebeto.
    Prospects: finalists.

    Costa Rica
    Players to watch: Flores, Medford.
    Prospects: first-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Hysen, Magnussen.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Johnston, McStay.
    Prediction: first-round elimination.

    West Germany
    Players to watch: Moller, Klinsmann.
    Prospects: finalists.

    Players to watch: Adnan Al Talyani, Mubarek Ghanim Mubarek.
    Prospects: first-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Susic, Stojkovic.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Higuita, Valderrama.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Martin Vazquez, Butragueno.
    Prospects: quarter-finalists.

    Players to watch: Ceulemans, Scifo.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Francescoli, Sosa.
    Prospects: second-round elimination.

    South Korea
    Players to watch: Kim Joo-Sung, Hwang Bo-Kwan.
    Prospects: first-round elimination.

    Players to watch: Gascoigne, Barnes.
    Prospects: quarter-finalists.

    Players to watch: El Kas, Hassan.
    Prospects: first-round elimination.

    Republic of Ireland
    Players to watch: Houghton, Aldridge.
    Prospects: second-round elimination

    Players to watch: Gullit, Van Basten.
    Prospects: quarter-finalists.
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    On the 4th of June 1988 the odds at the bookmakers in London were reported as this:

    West-Germany 2:1
    England, Netherlands, USSR, Italy all at 5:1
    Denmark 12:1
    Spain 16:1
    Ireland 20:1


    At 13/01/1988 it was:
    West-Germany 6:4
    Spain and Denmark 2:1
    England 4:1
    USSR 6:1
    Netherlands and Italy 8:1
    Ireland 33:1

    (was shortly after the draw, schedule and set-up was known; January 1988)
  24. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    From the Euro 92 souvenir pull-out from the Radio Times (I've picked out some comments by the commentators and written down the captions for the 3 players picked out for each nation, who are all mentioned by the commentators in their analysis):

    John Motson: "This time I expect Graham Taylor's men to qualify with France at the expense of Sweden and Yugoslavia. But I also expect the matches to be close...."

    Barry Davies: "Doll has been compared by Vogts to Gunter Netzer...."

    Berry van Aerle (part of Davies' analysis): "If we have one team and not five, we have a chance".

    Jimmy Hill: "although I look forward to savouring the skills of Mikhailichenko and Shalimov I do not see the CIS going far. Holland will probably qualify for the semi-finals alongside Germany.... I'd pay to see Stojkovic, Pancev and Savicevic any time, hoping they would be allowed to throw defensive tactics out of the windown and go for goal.... France will be the biggest threats in England's group".

    Player captions

    Gary Lineker: England's captain and most deadly marksman. His instinctive reactions carry a high premium.

    Chris Woods: Peter Shilton's successor.

    David Platt's runs from midfield could prove vital.

    Manuel Amoros: captain and holder of a record number of caps.

    Eric Cantona: a tempramental but richly talented player, familiar to Leeds United fans.

    Jean-Pierre Papin: a superstar image - and scorer of spectacular goals.

    Tomas Brolin: at 22, the new Gunnar Nordahl? (Motson actually mentions Nordahl has compared Brolin to himself but Brolin says he could never be as famous).

    Anders Limpar: a key attacker.

    Jonas Thern is skipper and midfield provider.

    Darko Pancev: the Red Star Belgrade marksman who's terrorised the best defences in the European Cup.

    Dragan Stojkovic: showed a range of skills at Italia 90.

    Dejan Savicevic: the midfield genius - arguably the best player in the world, certainly one of the most expensive.

    Rudi Voller: the man for the big occasion.

    Thomas Doll: won 29 caps for East Germany before joining the unified side 15 months ago.

    Andreas Brehme: scorer of the penalty that won the 1990 World Cup.

    Ally McCoist: over 40 goals for club and country this season.

    Gary McAllister: the midfield controller.

    Paul McStay: Celtic's creative force.

    Marco van Basten: hoping to recapture his 1988 scoring form.

    Jan Wouters: brings out the best in team-mates.

    Frank Rijkaard: back on top form after a sending-off in the 1990 World Cup.

    Alexei Mikhailichenko: a Scottish Championship winner with Rangers.

    Impressive striker Sergei Kiriakov.

    Old Trafford regular Andrei Kanchelskis.
  25. cr7torossi

    cr7torossi Member+

    May 10, 2007
    Those Independent tips for 1990 weren't half-bad.

    Savicevic as the best player in the world going into Euro92?

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