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The Punter: Spain may reign after poor start

Ante-post favourites Spain made a stuttering start to their World Cup campaign to say the least, losing to 14-1 outsiders Switzerland in their opening match.

Spain were hammered on the betting exchanges at 1-4 in what was a record-breaking Betfair trade with around £48m matched in total on the fixture and more than half on the win only odds.

With high-profile matches to come in the knockout stages, that betting record is more than likely to be broken.

The superbly skilled Spaniards showed some of their quality in the defeat of Honduras and victory over Chile on Friday night, should see them qualify, although if the Swiss can secure their second success in the group against Honduras, it would make it very interesting as they, the Spanish and Chile would each finish on six points.

For that reason, Spain remain 9-2 joint-second favourites with Argentina behind the 4-1 market leaders Brazil, who look strong all round and should go very close.

The layers then go 8-1 Holland; 9-1 Germany; 10-1 England; 20-1 Italy and Portugal; 33-1 bar.

Spain are 3-4 to top their group and and that is worth taking as opposed to 1-2 for a simple win.

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Their top striker David Villa (pictured) is 3-1 to be the World Cup’s leading goal scorer behind Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain (11-4) and expect him to make it hot for the Chileans.

Portugal have been slashed from 28-1 to 16-1 following their magnificent seven-goal thrashing of North Korea, but let’s not get too carried away with that.

A bet that stands out is Denmark (5-4) to beat Japan tomorrow.

The Danes need to win to stay in the competition and while the Japanese have only lost three of their last 20 competitive matches, they lack the firepower up front and will be very much on the defensive.