South Korea are hot favourites in their hosting of Australia on Wednesday, while there is plenty of other interest around Asia in matches with far more riding on them
|By PAUL GOUGH
Holger Osieck's baby Socceroos squad is given little chance of upsetting AFC heavyweights South Korea when the two teams meet in Hwaseong on Wednesday in an international friendly.
With this game squeezed in either side of a full round of club fixtures in Europe, Osieck has elected to rest most of his big guns from the match.
Only a handful of first-choice players, including Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill, Archie Thompson and Carl Valeri, have been named in the 19-man squad.
In fact, five members of the squad are yet to make their Socceroos' debut [including exciting Central Coast Mariners playmaker Tom Rogic], while a further six have less than 10 caps to their name.
With that in mind, Betfair punters have been quick to make South Korea warm favourites at $2.10, with the draw at $3.25 and Australia at $3.95.
About 90 percent of the early money traded on the game so far has been for the home side.
South Korea - the most successful Asian nation in World Cup history having participated in eight tournaments - are even shorter at sportsbet.com.au at $2.05, where the draw is priced at $3.25 and the Socceroos at $3.50.
And this is despite the fact the hosts, who have won two and drawn one of their past three meetings against Australia, will also be without their European based stars.
|Japan, South Korea and Iran to win their qualifiers
||Iraq and Jordan to draw at $3.35 at Betfair|
Both sides have a bye in Asian World Cup qualifying this week, which also resumes on Wednesday, with two matches in both groups.
And at the halfway stage of qualifying for Brazil 2014, two of the big guns of Asia still have plenty of work to do if they are again going to feature in the world's biggest sporting event.
South Korea are equal top of Group A with seven points along with Iran. But with only the top two assured of going to Brazil, third-placed Uzbekistan are within striking distance on five points, as are Qatar and Lebanon on four.
In Group B, Japan can all but secure their passage to Brazil in the coming set of fixtures given they are already on 10 points, well clear of Australia and Oman on five and then Jordan on four and Iraq on two.
Japan are the $1.42 favourites with Betfair to win away against Oman at $6.20 on Wednesday, while winless Iraq are a risk at $1.91 at home to much-improved Jordan [$3.30] in the other game, where the draw looks good value at $3.35.
In Group A, Iran are hot favourites at $1.57 with Betfair against Uzbekistan at $4.80, while in the other game, Qatar should win at home at $1.35 against struggling Lebanon at $6.20.
*Note prices subject to change