South Africa V Bulgaria Betting: International Friendly

23rd May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

 

South Africa V Bulgaria

International Friendly
Monday, 24th May – 19:35 GMT

 

Amidst the jibes and the low-blows from journalists claiming South Africa will become the worst performing host nation in World Cup history, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira came out fighting in a recent press conference, with the former 1994 World Cup winner as Brazil national team coach countering South Africa’s critics with some jabs of his own, insisting that Bafana Bafana will hold their own next month, springing their fair share of surprises en route to qualification from Group A.

"These boys are motivated, hard working, committed and determined to do well despite being written off”. Parreira’s honest and perhaps biased assessment of the South Africa team which has recently registered back-to-back wins following victories over Jamaica (2-0) and Thailand (4-0). Both were friendlies, as is this game with non-qualifiers Bulgaria, and before South Africa kick-off proceedings against Mexico in the tournaments opening game of the finals on June 11th, Bafana Bafana will take to the field another two times against Colombia on May 27th and for a final time against Denmark on June 5th.

Parreira has yet to whittle down his 30-man provisional squad, and with three friendlies scheduled within the space of a fortnight, it’s understandable why the Brazilian born custodian is waiting to assess the performances of his players in their forthcoming warm up matches before making any decision of whose World Cup dream won’t come true. However, what it does mean is those selected for tomorrow’s clash with Bulgaria, a team which will provide South Africa with their sternest test thus far, simply have to perform else the axe could be yielded. We think it’s safe to assume that Parreira will look to use a mixture of first-team fixtures and fringe players for tomorrow’s game, with those individuals on the squad periphery and don’t impress out of World Cup reckoning.

 

It wasn’t so long ago when South Africa couldn’t win a game, but two recent wins haven’t just boosted the morale and atmosphere in camp, they’ve raised the expectations from the host nation. However, the Bulgarians, who won’t be travelling to South Africa on June 11th for the finals, will provide Bafana Bafana with their leanest physical examination yet, especially in comparison to Jamaica and Thailand. Although Bulgaria no longer have the benefit of all-time scorer Dimitar Berbatov, who only a few weeks ago retired from international football – while Martin Petrov of Man City is out injured, they do have some talented individuals who will ask questions of South Africa, both from a defensive and offensive point of view. The Bulgarians have an experienced warhorse in the centre of midfield in Aston Villa’s Stiliyan Petrov, while Parma’s Valeri Bojinov, who had an unsuccessful stint over in England with Man City, is another big name in the Bulgaria camp and a forward player which should ensure the Bafana Bafana defence remains on their toes throughout.

Against both Jamaica and Thailand, the South Africa defence and goalkeeper were rarely tested, especially in the game with Asian side Thailand. The latter match seen South Africa dominate from start to finish, quickly becoming the authoritative force and dictator against one of the smaller nations in international football. However, against a Bulgarian team which can do more than merely hold their own and are ranked 66 places higher than Thailand in the FIFA Rankings, Carlos Alberto Parreira will get his first real taster of how his players might fare against stiffer opposition. Bulgaria aren’t possible World Cup opposition, nor are they World Cup standard at present, but a loss to the European side won’t go down at all well with the natives, nor will it won’t bode well for their chances in a competitive Group A next month, so securing a third win on the trot couldn’t be more important.

 

Match Odds:

South Africa – 1.91 Ladbrokes
Draw – 3.50 WilliamHill
Bulgaria – 4.60 SportingBet

 

Our Prediction: Draw – 3.50 WilliamHill

A brace of friendly victories against lesser nations to that of Bulgaria hasn’t impressed us enough despite both coming with a touch of comfortability and class. There may well be a lack of motivation in the Bulgaria camp because of their failure to reach the finals, while on the other side of the coin there will be a host of Bafana Bafana players aiming to shine in front of their Brazilian coach ahead of some anticipated cuts, but South Africa have looked very ordinary against notable opposition in 2010; drawing 0-0 with North Korea last month, as well as two draws with Paraguay (1-1) and Zambia (1-1) during March. Their recent successess would indicate Carlos Parreira has South Africa heading in the right direction at just the right time but in a game where Parreira is set to experiment a little, both with personnel and formations, we wouldn’t want to take South Africa on at such slim odds considering they’ve been partial to a draw or two.

Our Recommendation: 1-1 Correct Score @ 7.00 SkyBet




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