With neither side coming into this crucial encounter in particularly high spirits, Al Hain-Cole expects the goalmouth action to unfold after the break following a tense first halfAfter Brazil’s high-profile opening game against Croatia, Group A underdogs Mexico and Cameroon fight it out for three points at Natal’s Arena das Dunas on Friday.
Despite only qualifying for the competition via a continental play-off victory over New Zealand, Miguel Herrera’s men are 23/20 (2.15) favourites with William Hill to come out on top in their opening match.
With just seven wins in the last 21 matches to their name, the Indomitable Lions are 13/5 (3.60) outsiders to secure only their second World Cup victory since 1990.
The North Americans have drawn twice against Nigeria within the past year, and you can get odds of 21/10 (3.10) on them playing out another stalemate against more African opposition here.
With Brazil and Croatia expected to dominate in a difficult group, both teams will view this match as their greatest opportunity to collect maximum points. Mexico can be backed at 11/8 (2.38) to qualify from Group A while Cameroon are the rank outsiders to make the knockout stages, priced at 4/1 (5.00).
However, some underwhelming friendly performances in the build up to the tournament suggests that neither side will come into this game in particularly confident spirits.
Having suffered consecutive friendly defeats against Portugal and Bosnia-Herzegovina prior to landing in Brazil, El Tricolor appear struggling to shake off the bad atmosphere that surrounded their stuttering qualification campaign as they head south.
Similarly, under some pressure Volker Finke was forced to play down rumours of a players’ strike over bonus payments prior to landing in Brazil - hardly ideal preparation for such a key encounter.
With this in mind, it would be a surprise if either team took to the field in particularly flowing form on Friday, when the pressure of the occasion is likely to guarantee a tense start to the match.
Considering the majority of goals have been scored after half-time in five of Cameroon’s last six matches and three of Mexico’s last four, odds of 21/20 (2.05) seem to offer excellent value on that coming to pass once again in a nervous opening exchange.
|Second half to be the highest scoring for a 1.5pt stake at 21/20 (2.05) with William Hill
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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.