category: France
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French side Lille travel to Bordeaux on Sunday afternoon, currently in second place in Ligue 1 and on a run of form that can only be described as magnificent. Their 92nd minute winner at home against Marseille made it 11 consecutive clean sheets for Les Dogues and their 14th of the season overall. A fantastic return after only 16 games. The secret behind this has of course been their defence. New coach René Girard has come into the side and taken an unlikely group of defenders, and turned them into the best defence in Europe. Not bad for a coach who had to convince the supporters at the start of the season that he was the right man for the job. Only one point behind Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the league, now the supporters are starting to believe something special is happening this would be 10 times bigger than their 2011 title campaign if they could pull it off.

René Girard led Montpellier unexpectedly to the 2011/12 Le Championnat, beating off the mega-riches of PSG to win La Paillade’s first ever Ligue 1 crown. Now he is using the same approach to construct a tough, well organised, well-disciplined Lille side. At Montpellier he was praised for his attacking players – Olivier Giroud, Younes Belhanda – but it was the defence that was the catalyst. The back four rarely changed the experience of Vitorino Hilton, the youth of Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa, and the energy and drive of full-backs Henri Bedimo and Garry Bocaly.

Now he is following the same pattern at his new club. Danish defender Simon Kjaer joined from Wolfsburg and he provides the energy and spark in the centre, paired with the excellent and vastly experienced Marko Basa, these two have clicked almost instantaneously. Franck Beria is the only member of the title winning defence left, he has returned to his natural right-back role, still eager to get forward, but provides that extra defensive cover. The left-back slot was meant to be a problem position. Promising youngster Lucas Digne moved to PSG for €15 million in the summer, Lille’s only true left-back, Pape Souare, had spent the previous season on loan at Reims, and although he did ok, he wasn’t regarded as anything special. How times have changed. Souare has been one of the revelations of the season so far. He has speed, strength and a determination to get forward, like so many of today’s modern-day full-backs, but he is also excellent in defence.

Never one to shy away from a tackle, Souare is full-bloodied, committed and an overall excellent defender. He has a wonderful aerial presence in and around the box, that has led to the Senegalese international scoring three goals so far this season, two of them match winners, against Montpellier and Toulouse. Souare has stepped up and made claim to the left-back role and made it his own, claim your football betting coupon, and perhaps you can be as successful as Pape Souare has this season. There was even a recent story linking his with a move to Manchester United. It is a little too soon for that kind of talk, but people are starting to sit up and take notice.

The real star of the defence though, has been Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Signed 2 years ago by then coach Rudi Garcia, it was determined that Enyeama wasn’t as good as the #1 Mickael Landreau, so he was loaned out to Israeli side Hapoel Tel-Aviv. Landreau left midway from the season, Former Brest goalkeeper Steeve Elana was made the number 1 and Enyeama stayed in Israel. With Girard in charge that all changed, there was open competition for the #1 jersey and Enyeama started the season between the sticks. Little did anyone know what was about to happen. After conceding a goal to Nice on the stroke of half-time on the 15th of September, Enyeama would spend the next 1035 minutes unbeaten. This included trips to Lyon, Montpellier and Nantes, and the visits of Monaco, Toulouse and Marseille. The all –time French football record is 1176 minutes without conceding, held by Gaëtan Huard of Bordeaux back in 1992-93. Enyeama will have to see off Bordeaux on Sunday, and then keep a clean sheet for over 50 minutes vs. Bastia to break the record.

If Enyeama can break the record, and Lille goes on to win both games, it sets up a very exciting trip to Paris just before the Winter break. A win in the capital would potentially see Lille crowned autumn champions, then you would have to consider them favourites to go on a life the real thing. Unthinkable when René Girard took over this summer.

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category: England
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The footballing hard men – ‘Bite Yer Legs’, ‘Chopper’, ‘The Beast of (Insert foreign club name here)’ – lost relics from an age when players got the bus home after a game, opened pubs within seconds of their retirement and smoked fags with impunity.

They’d make up for any technical deficiencies they might have possessed by doing more raking than Titchmarsh, more tripping than a Grateful Dead concert, more mental and physical anguish than an evening spent watching Peter Andre: My Life on ITV2.

They’d get their retaliation in early, put the reducer on their victim and then receive a mild lecture from the referee before being released back into the footballing community to continue their wicked ways.

These days, it’s almost laughably easy to get sent off. And even if the referee misses a particularly nasty foul at the time, there’s always the spectre of retrospective action hanging over the dirtier player.

So the following list in no way refers to the players’ machismo or inherent hardness. It just means they’re extra specially good at getting caught, which is why they’ve made it onto the bookies list of contenders for the worst disciplined player.

Here’s a few from that list to admire/despise/pity/bet on:

 

Lucas Leiva

Brazil – cue stereotypical montages of street games, beach games, girls in thongs and Pele, all to the strains of some hip-wiggling Samba soundtrack.

Brazilian international Lucas – cue atypical montage of mis-timed Liverpool lunges, extra time fights with angry Paraguayans and a straight red in the 2008 Olympic semi-final, all to the strains of some mind-melting death metal melange.

Liverpool might be one of the prettier passing sides in the Premiership, but their first-choice defensive midfielder is never frightened to get ugly to aid Brendan Rodgers’ attempts at the beautiful game. And he’s not Joe Allen, so he’s going to get lots of games for Liverpool this season.

 

Gary Medel

Gary who now?

He might not be a household name just yet, but Cardiff’s midfield enforcer has the whole season ahead of him to change all that. Gary Alexis Medel Soto is his full name and he’s from Chile. Gary is not your typical Chilean name and it turns out he’s named after Gary Lineker.

Oh the irony. Our big-eared national footballing/crisp-flogging treasure was famed for his exemplary disciplinary record.  Gary Alexis Medel Soto is not. He’s known back home as ‘the Chilean Gattuso’ because, and I quote, ‘of his strong performance and short temper’.

If Cardiff are going to survive in the Premiership this season, they’re going to have to fight for every point. Expect Gary to be at the head of the fighty queue.

 

Cheik Tiote

The physically imposing and hard tackling midfielder is a rarity in the Newcastle first team – he’s not French. Instead, he’s from The Ivory Coast, which is an old French colony so that’s just about acceptable. Alas, that’s about all that many consider acceptable about Tiote. Especially referees.

Tiote picked up an impressive 14 yellow cards in his first season on The Toon. After two seasons, he’d managed 25 cautions in 50 appearances. That’s a yellow card every two games for the more mathematically challenged among you. In early 2011, Tiote signed a six and a half year deal to stay at Newcastle. That should keep the men in black busy for a long while yet.

 

Lee Cattermole

Not so far away resides Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole – a player once so highly rated that even Arsene Wenger was willing to overlook the fact that he wasn’t foreign and think about signing him.

He’s still at Sunderland, but started at Middlesbrough, making his debut in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle that prompted his then manager Steve McClaren to declare: “When we needed people to stand up and be counted, it took a 17-year-old to bring everyone together.”

As any fool knows, when a football manager talks about people ‘standing up and being counted’, it means people ‘standing up and kicking other people over.’ To date, Cattermole has stood up through 215 appearances and been counted for 69 yellow and 7 red cards.

And now that Paolo Di Canio, who seemed to hate Cattermole, has left the building, he should be practising his dark arts at The Stadium of Light rather more often again.

 

Branislav Ivanovic

Bit of an outside punt, this one.

But…

He’s one of the few players Jose Mourinho picks without having to think about it or discuss it with his adoring media. So he’ll get games this season. Lots of games. He’s spent six seasons at Stamford Bridge learning at the feet of the Voldemort of defenders – John Terry.

And Frank Lampard has described him thus: “You only have to look at him to see what a beast he is…he is a man you want on your side.” “A man you want on your side’ is usually translated from football into English as ‘I want him on my side so he can kick the opposition, not me”.

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category: Articles
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The world of football betting is a fast growing reality and it is becoming little by little more known and progressively even more people are becoming interested in it.

Nowadays there are thousands of operators which have created their website where everybody, above age 18, can create a personal account and start to bet online or to play with games such as poker, other card games or casino games, such as slot machines.

The originality of these websites stands in the fact that they offer thousands of matches to bet on, even in real time time, and with scores that are costantly updated. Besides members of these websites can obtain some interesting bonus for their betting, for example through the Stan James promo code : BETJAMES.

We can also mention here one of the most important and prestigious operators of betting and games, William Hill, which was founded in 1934 and which was also the first operator in the worlds that created an online platform for betting in 1998. Still nowadays people can count on the reliability and great variety of bets and games offered by this website.

Football is, at least in Europe, the most common sport for betting, but most of the betting operators also deal with other sports like tennis, horse races and hockey, so also people who do not like football but are keen on other sports, can participate by becoming members of the website, start playing and have fun.  And of course the best part of it is the concrete possibility to win huge amounts of money, this is mainly what increases among people their passion for betting.

 

 

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Since FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup nearly 2 years ago there has been increasing pressure on the body to rethink their decision. With the tournament still 9 years away, the football world is throwing a tantrum and it seems that some of FIFA’s members are becoming more outspoken about their disapproval of the tiny Gulf state as host.

When Blatter made the announcement in Zurich the jubilation of the Qatar bid team who had travelled to Switzerland was similar to that of a jackpot winner at iPadcasino.com.au. The rest of the massive conference hall was silent for a moment before voicing their shock and exasperation at the decision, but it seemed that there was no going back. However, now it seems there are more rumblings about the suitability of the event in a location that has a blistering hot summer totally unsuited to the sport.

FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger has waded into the fray, calling the Qatar World Cup a blatant mistake. He says that even moving the date of the cup wouldn’t be ideal as although it may help players avoid the searing summer heat it would seriously affect the European Leagues. Sepp Blatter proposed the switch of the tournament to the cooler months, saying that the World Cup is a party for the people and although you can cool stadiums down, you cannot cool down a whole country. The summer heat regularly tops 100 degrees and should never have been considered a viable option for the cup in the first place. Blatter’s proposal was met with disdain and Zwanziger insists the event should be given to someone else.

Other high profile figures have also recently expressed their opposition over the tournament being hosted by Qatar, with UEFA President Michael Platini saying it was impossible to play football in Qatar and another member of the FIFA Executive Committee, Franz Beckenbauer being adamant about providing an alternative solution. CEO of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore has also expressed his unhappiness, saying that the change of event date would disrupt the league and that summer is the right time, with good reason.

There is no doubt that a cloud hangs over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and  the decision that looked set in stone might now be crumbling.

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category: Uncategorized
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There is something going on in the French Ligue 1, which has previously received less attention in comparison to other top European football leagues.

Paris Saint-Germain for instance has just spent €64 million to buy Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. This is the highest amount that has ever been payed for a transfer within the French League. Thanks to its rich Qatari owner PSG has made it from finishing 16th in 2008 to win Ligue 1 this year. No doubt that money had a significant impact on this outcome. This high-buying definitely increases the reputation of the French football league on the one side but on the other side clubs like Marseille or Nice will have problems to compete. We can wait in suspense for their performance next season and use the free Unibet promotional code.

However there is another club that draws the attention of the media lately – it’s AS Monaco. Owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, a rich Russian businessmen, the club is going for top players this transfer window. Despite strong interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid Rybolovlev managed to get the Columbian striker Radamel Falcao for over £50 million. Altogether the Russian billionaire has already spent £100 million to reach his goal to build a new football empire and has also signed other players like Ricardo Carvalho, Jeremy Toulalan and the Porto duo Joao Moutinho and James Rodrigue.. Taking into account these facts AS Monaco might be an equal competitor of Paris Saint-Germain next season.

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category: World Cup 2014
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In the United States, there’s an ongoing conversation about whether or not the national football (or in their words, soccer) team can compete with the best international sides. The truth is, for some time now, the USA has been a middle-of-the-pack team in international football competition. Most European football fans hardly give the USA a second thought. However, a number of factors and developments in the past year have turned it into a real question: can the Yanks sustain their recent good play and become a consistent, quality international competitor?

Let’s be clear: there’s no need to sign in to Bet Fair and put money on the United States winning a World Cup any time soon. But things are headed in the right direction for the Americans. Here are a few specific indications that the upward trend may continue.

The Winning Streak
What’s big news in the U.S. right now has begun to grab some international attention, and perhaps for good reason. The numbers tell it all: in the past 12 international matches, the Yanks are 10-1-1, including a draw in Mexico City – a notoriously hostile environment for visiting teams. Within that record, Team USA has now won an impressive 9 straight. They may not be defeating the likes of Spain and Germany just yet, but when you get to 9 straight, it’s a positive sign no matter which teams you’re playing.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s Success
Earlier this year, frustration with former German star and current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was mounting, to the point that a single scathing article generated a great deal of attention, and even some calls for a new coach. Since then, however, Klinsmann’s handling of the team has been masterful. Even benching Landon Donovan, the face of U.S. soccer, seemed to pay off in June, and it now seems as if Klinsmann has built a national team structure that can compete consistently.

Roster Depth
Part of Klinsmann’s success has been in manipulating rosters in a way that has kept the team winning, but also integrated new players. Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey may get the most attention, but meanwhile the likes of Chris Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson are making significant impacts. The U.S. has gone from a scrappy but imperfect team to a tiered system with options and firepower.

International Success
It’s long been thought that the top players for the U.S. don’t get enough experience in top international leagues to compete well in team international competition. This is beginning to change, slowly but surely. Jozy Altidore has just become a promising new signee for Sunderland, Michael Bradley has done well with Roma, and Dempsey is leading the way with Tottenham Hotspur. The experience seems to be paying off.

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category: Champions League
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For the past ten years, there has been an English team in the UEFA Champions League final eight times and during that time football tickets for English clubs in the competition were one of the most wanted. Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have emerged victorious while Liverpool, Manchester United (twice), Chelsea and Arsenal were defeated in the final. Despite the emergence of Barcelona and Lionel Messi, along with the massive spending of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, the English clubs have held their own in Europe. Until now. The draw for the quarter-finals has been made, and there are no English teams left in the competition. The last time this happened was in the 1995-1996 season. Is this the beginning of a decline or merely a blip?

This is a complex issue because the feats of various teams have to be analysed. Had it not been for a controversial Nani red card, Manchester United would be in the quarter-final draw. They are among the favourites to reach the latter stages for next season’s competition.United have now gone two seasons without a quarter-final appearance, yet they were in the final three seasons ago. Their performances this season, particularly against Real Madrid, demonstrate that the future is bright. The team has plenty of young players and the likes of Rooney and van Persie will ensure competitiveness. As long as Sir Alex Ferguson is their manager, United will always be in the quarter-finals or semi-finals, competing against the best in Europe.

Manchester City are a slightly more curious case. The club is wealthy, and they have some tremendous players, yet they have made no impression in Europe under Roberto Mancini. Two group stage exits are an embarrassing return for a team that boasts the likes of Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Samir Nasri. However, City will be a considerable threat in the next decade. Their spending power is unrivalled, and Sheikh Mansour will not tolerate failure for much longer.

There are rumours that a change of manager is on the horizon at the Etihad. Mancini could be replaced by the likes of Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Manuel Pellegrini or Jupp Heynckes. A managerial change could give City the impetus they need to excel in Europe.

Chelsea are another club with plenty of wealth yet a great deal of underperformance on the field. Despite their Champions League success last season, the past few years have been unusual for the club. They have not made an impression on the Premier League for quite a while, and the constant managerial merry-go-round has created instability. In addition, the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard are nearing the end of their career and Didier Drogba has moved on, meaning that Chelsea’s core group of players needs reshaping.

Newspaper reports have suggested that Jose Mourinho is ready to return to Stamford Bridge, having made peace with Roman Abramovich. Mourinho knows Chelsea inside out, having achieved considerable success there from 2004-2007. He would have players such as Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Ramires at his disposal. If Mourinho returns to Chelsea, there is no doubt they will be a Champions League force.

Next season will see either Arsenal or Tottenham in the Champions League. Neither side looks capable of challenging for the trophy and both have a long way to go before they can be considered quarter-finals material.

There is no doubt the English suffered this season, but do not let that hint at a decline. The Manchester clubs and Chelsea will make a massive impression on the Champions League in the next few seasons, of that there is no doubt. Those who are interested can purchase Champions League final match tickets as the final is taking place at Wembley and this is an event that no football fan would want to miss.

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category: Uncategorized
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The current Premiership season is drawing towards its final stages now, and with the expected battle for the title between the two Manchester clubs having rather fizzled out, much of the attention is being focused on other issues such as: Which teams will qualify for the Champions and Europa Leagues? And which ones will be relegated? These issues will be resolved within a couple of months however, which will leave football and betting fans looking for some other way to get their fix. Playing a football themed slot game like Soccer Safari may be the answer.

Soccer Safari is just one of the many football based slots games around, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a truly unique experience – in fact it is hard to imagine another game quite like this one. It involves animals playing each other in a World Cup tournament, deep in the jungles of Africa, and it is brought to life brilliantly by the graphics. The game found in MobileSlots.net features lions, buffalo, warthogs, leopards, and jackals as players on the reels, deer as cheerleaders, a zebra as the referee and an elephant and giraffe as the commentators. The game is aimed at an international audience, hence the World Cup theme to it, but with the elephant bearing a suspicious resemblance to Gary Lineker, it also makes a cheeky nod towards English football fans.

The bonus game is also really entertaining for anyone who loves football; because it involves having to score goals from different angles on the pitch. The round is triggered by obtaining a reel with at least three of the World Cup symbols on it.

The final, yet tempting reason why football fans might find Soccer Safari such an enjoyable a slots game, is the chance to play for a cool $8000 jackpot. Even if you don’t succeed in winning the ultimate jackpot, you do have a great chance of winning some money playing this game which, alongside how much fun it is, should make it a great option for any football and betting fan.

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category: Uncategorized
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Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool make the short trip to face the blue half of Manchester at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, and the Welshman will be hoping that the sudden upturn in their Premier League fortunes will play some part in what would be a monumental achievement, should they take all three points away from the current title holders.

Their humiliating 3-2 loss to Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup aside, Liverpool have come on in leaps and bounds since the turn of the new year; picking up 10 points from a possible 15 in their last 5 games and scoring goals galore – the only blot on their copybook being a 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Reds showed great heart in their 2-2 draw on Wednesday against Arsenal at the Emirates, and with Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez firing on all cylinders, there is definitely potential to cause an upset in Manchester, but can that potential be realised?

Manchester City remain tremendously tough to beat at home. Everton and Manchester United are the only teams to take 3 points away from the Etihad in over two years, and visitors Liverpool have been on the receiving end of some heavy defeats there over the last couple of years.

Roberto Mancini is definitely missing his African contingent due to the Africa Cup Of Nations, Yaya Toure being the biggest loss; his presence visibly missing in City’s 0-0 draw with QPR at Loftus Road on Tuesday.

That said, Manchester City have an embarrassment of riches available in terms of players, and the departure of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan is sure to create a sense of calm on the training ground, which will surely contribute positively to the job in hand of catching city rivals Manchester United.

Bookmakers have made Manchester City 5/6 favourites to take the spoils, a price I think is very much on the generous side, with Liverpool available to back at 7/2. The stalemate is offered at around 11/4.

We have ascertained that the visitors are indeed improving into something like the team we expected at the beginning of the season, but after a tough game in London against Arsenal on Wednesday, it may be asking a little too much for them to beat the Premier League Champions in their own back yard.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will accept nothing less than a win here in front of home fans, and I’m pretty confident that his star-studded team will once again raise their game after a rather dull 0-0 draw in midweek.

It’s also worth noting that Liverpool are yet to win a single game against top half opposition, both home and away. I’ll be backing Manchester City to continue that trend at very attractive odds.

 

Read more big match previews, betting tips and tutorials at TVBet

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category: Euro 2012
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Well what a first day that was. Seven goals, two red cards, a penalty miss. The most goals in an opening day since 1960. Don’t think we could have asked for a better start. Greece did well to come back and get a draw, it would be surprising not to see Salpingidis start the second game. They could have easily won that game after being dominated for the first half. Giorgios Samaras should be nowhere near that team.

Not the worst start for one of the home nations, a point is not a disaster but puts some pressure on them to get something off the Russians.  If they can repeat the first half performance and avoid the second half showing then you never know. Was impressed with Rybus before he came off, thought he looked a good player.

Performance of the day has to go to Alan Dzagoev and his Russian team, they were superb, totally dominated the Czech Republic at times and with Kerzhakov not having an absolute nightmare it could have been 6 or 7 instead of the four goals they did get. Arshavin had a fantastic game, looked really in the mood. Denisov was quality in the midfield too.

For the Czech side, they need to take some positives from the second half. Pilar looks a very dangerous winger, Baros was typically Baros. He surely can’t be their best striker, if so they will finish last in this group.

On to the games:

NETHERLANDS v DENMARK

The Group of Death kicks off with the Dutch against the Danes, the same match that kicked off both sides tournament in South Africa two years ago. The Dutch found it tough then, and should find the same difficult game today. Will it be Huntelaar or van Persie, will it be Sneijder or van der Vaart, big decisions from a team that are one of the favourites.

Expect Denmark to give Holland a good game but in the end falter, and the Dutch to pick up all three points. Of course watch out for Christian Eriksen for the Danes, much talked about star at Ajax.

RESULT: NETHERLANDS 2 DENMARK 1

 

GERMANY v PORTUGAL

Massive game to finish the evening. Two of the competition favourites come together in the opening game and it will be crucial for either side not to lose. The Germans will start slight favourites, favourites for the game and of coruse favourites for the competition. If one team are to stop the German machine then it could just be Portugal. Their success will depend on the form of Cristiano Ronaldo but also how well Moutinho and Meireles play and I think Pepe and Alves could be quite dodgy at the back.

Although Germany have the likes of Gotze and Reus coming through, it looks like the same attacking threat from South Africa will start.   Klose should get the nod ahead of Mario Gomez, but two years older, it might be sooner rather than later that we see if Gomez can perform on the biggest stage. I do fancy both to trouble the Portuguese defence though.

RESULT: GERMANY 2 PORTUGAL 0

 

Throughout the tournament I’ll give myself ONE point for a correct result, and THREE points for a correct score. So from 31 games that’s a possible 93 points. I think the target for a successful tournament will be 40.

Only one point from Day One. Russia with the win

1/6

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