2014 World Cup

The first red card

FIFA want the fans want to see the entertainers at the World Cup and that means protecting the entertainers during the initial stage of the finals. Thirteen players saw red during the Group games in South Africa, following on from 18 in the 2006 finals, an average of a red card every 2.66 games and although 2010 wasn’t quite the blood bath of 2006, 17 reds in 48 first round games still represents a red card every 2.8 games.

Devils and angels.

Brazil leads the way with 11 dismissals. Argentina have had 10 reds and Uruguay have had 8 players sent off at the finals. However, those figures have to be taken in context to the number of games played by each nation in the finals and how recently they occurred. Brazil have played 97 games at the finals, Argentina have played 70 and Uruguay only 47, so Brazil are comparative angels compared to Argentina and Uruguay in particular. Mexico run Uruguay close having picked up 6 reds, all since 1986 and from only 29 matches. A red card every five matches, shows a distinct lack of discipline from the Mexicans and to be fair to Argentina their record has improved recently, although five of their reds have come against (West Germany) Germany, which could be worth noting if the two teams get drawn against each other in the later stages of the tournament.

The Dutch are the real bad boys of European football having suffered 7 reds from only 43 games (with 5 of them coming since 1998) and like Argentina the Dutch have a habit of losing their heads against the Germans.

The good behaviour award goes to Spain, who has a solitary red card picked up way back in 1994 from 56 games.

With a player dismissed once in every three games (from 20 games in the finals) Cameroon are the real sinners in the World cup and Group A, which contains fellow sinners Brazil and Mexico should be lively to say the least, especially when you consider the bias to the home teams in recent tournaments.

Home bias?

The home nations would say there hasn’t been a home bias at the finals, but surely it is more than just coincidence that the host nation have had at least one opposition player sent off against them in every tournament dating back to 1982; usually in the knockout stages and often early in the game. Despite the fact that South Africa only played three games in the last World Cup it will warm Brazilian hearts to learn that there have been seven red cards against the host nation in the last three tournaments alone. Three of those dismissals came in the first 35 minutes and five of the twelve dismissals against the host nation since 1982 came in the first half, giving the home team a huge advantage.

Powers are offering a market for the first Red Card at the World cup and given the above information, it would come as no surprise to see a Croatian player Red carded, but the Brazilians also have a poor disciplinary record. However, there hasn’t been an opening game red card in recent finals and Nishamura is not a card happy ref. The 2nd and 3rd games involve Mexico, Cameroon and Holland, three of the bad boys of the World cup finals. Given the fact that the last two finals have seen more red than a vampires Friends reunited reunion, it has to be long odds on that the first red will come in one of the first three games of the tournament.

The 3 opening group games of the World cup:

Brazil /Croatia

Mexico /Cameroon

Netherlands /Spain

Personally I have had the following £50 bet with Powers, which will return a profit, as long as there is a red card in the opening three games.

Croatia 13/2 @ £5

Brazil 12/1 @ £5

Mexico 10/1 @£15

Cameroon 10/1 @£15

N'Lands 14/1 @ £5

Spain 18/1 @ £5

All at Paddy Powers.

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