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World Cup and US Open Preview

Generally I am given the review slot on a Monday but today I am wearing an unfamiliar hat as I preview the World Cup and US Open in golf which both start tomorrow.

Always looking for value, in the World Cup I am attracted to Uruguay at 30-1. They are in Group A comprising Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt too which is scarcely intimidating.

Oscar Tabarez

Up front they have two of the best forwards in the world in Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani and at the back two of the best defenders in the world the Atletico Madrid pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.

Midfield is their weakness though Stefano  Ursolini has always spoken highly of Mattea Vecino ex Viola now at Inter.

Crucially their coach Oscar Tabarez has been in charge for the second time since 2006.  If you think how longevity helped Spain under Del Bosque and Germany under Joachim Low then you can see why I am enthusiastic for la Celeste. They may dominate the early stages and run out of puff but a good bet for the quarters.

I still favour France to go far. Belgium with a midfield of De Bruyne and Hazard, if  he recovers from injury, and Moussa Dembele can hardly be overlooked but my worry here is the lack of match and competition experience of their coaching team Roberto Martinez and Thierry Henry.

Branden Grace

The US Open is being held at Shinnecock Hills for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen triumphed. Generally it favours the more mature player and rest assured the US PGA will make it the demanding and testing track that the tourney is always played on, often controversially tough.

I fancy another South African Branden Grace who has a fine US Open record and won’t be intimidated. Justin Rose is in fine form and another whose steady game will not be undermined by a testing course.

You cannot overlook Dustin Johnson who eagled the 18th to win the St Jude classic last weekend by 6 shots. Franceso Molinari and Phil Mickelson will complete my staking plan.

About John Pargiter

John Pargiter’s biggest claim to fame is his first-ever work experience job, as ‘legs’ (or runner) for Henry Longhurst. For many years he worked in insurance at Lloyds. After retiring he has returned to his favourite sport of golf and is a keen recreational sailor and grandparent. More Posts