So, that was the World Cup then. After a brilliant month of football, the tournament closed out with a hard fought contest between two of the iconic footballing nations. In today's post, there's news on my World Cup bets - good, bad and ugly - plus I'll announce the winner of our World Cup competition; and there's also a video showcasing a couple of new features coming this week to the geegeez racecards.
Let's start with the racing, seeing as we're a racing community..!
Phase 7 of the racecards and form tools development is almost complete, and it'll be on site this week with any luck. Last night I recorded a short sneak peak at some of what's coming, and here it is. As well as showing some of the new stuff, I also stumbled upon a horse that might be worth backing tonight...
[Caveat emptor: the usual 'one take wonder' production standards apply!]
Now, the footy...
The World Cup Final was one for the purists, with blood and thunder more prominent than trickery and finesse. Nevertheless, in Javier Mascherano and Bastian Schweinsteiger's performances, there was an old school joy as well-timed (in the main) tackles and ubiquity of availability to receive the ball were trademarks of both players' game. Indeed, to my eye, they threatened to make the midfield enforcer role fashionable again, such was their dominance. Oh, for the re-emergence of the midfield enforcer role. Sigh. (Guess where I played, albeit at a lowly level, until age 40..!)
I am not ashamed to admit that I find the likes of Javier and Schweini infinitely more watchable than the prima ballerina exploits of that balance-challenged Dutchman and the rest, and as a consequence I thoroughly enjoyed the scrap in the middle of the park. Zabaleta was excellent for Argentina also, and Neuer is so far the best cat in the world it's not even a contest.
The best team won, and there can be very few complaints about that.
To the competition. If you remember, way back on 12th June, geegeez offered a competition which 150-odd of you entered. The challenge was to name two players to score three or more goals, and two teams to make the semi-finals. The twist was that your named players/teams would score points according to their pre-tournament odds, and the highest cumulative point score would win the prize of £100 cash. Whoop!
So, the semi-finalists and their points totals were as follows:
Brazil – 3
Germany – 6
Argentina – 4
Holland – 33
If you had Holland, well done, but you'll have needed to supplement that with a big-priced goalscorer...
The three-scorers and their points totals were as follows:
Benzema (France) 25
Muller (Germany) 28
Robben (Holland) 66
Enner Valencia (Ecuador) 200
van Persie (Holland) 28
Rodriguez (Colombia) 150
Neymar (Brazil) 10
Messi (Argentina) 7.5
Schurrle (Germany) 80
Shaqiri (Switzerland) 200
One inspired player had Shaqiri (well done, Dave Slats) at 200/1, but unfortunately neither Colombia nor Russia made the semi-finals (again, very unlucky with Colombia). A condition of the competition was that at least one player had to score three and one team reach the semi's.
That means that our winner is, drumroll please, Paul Whitworth, whose semi-final nominations of Argentina and Germany actually fought out the final, and whose trump card was tournament top scorer, James Rodriguez. That, as they say, is some fancy picking, and the £100 is well earned with a cumulative score of 160.
I hope everyone enjoyed the tournament, and the competition, and we'll do another one soon.
From a personal betting perspective, the World Cup was great. Regular readers will know that I scooped a few hundred quid on the Colossus Bets Pick 4's, and shared a few grand (!) with a small syndicate on the same.
As well as that, I had £20 on an Argentina/Germany final on Betfair at 15/1 (a bet which I'd forgotten about until my balance became commensurately inflated last week!); and, £30 on Messi to be player of the tournament at 8/1 (money stolen as he surely wasn't in the top three best players!).
If they were the good (luck), then the bad (luck) and (plain) ugly were my top scorer bets. It's a brilliant market - my favourite in the World Cup, without doubt - but it's a cruel one too. Four years ago, I'd backed Klose, only to see him shivering under a blanket with the flu in the third place game, when needing one to claim the prize.
This year, I'd pulled out the scattergun and landed on bad luck. I backed Muller - win only - at 40/1 for £15. He scored the opener in the seven goal rout of Brazil, but that was his last scoring impact, and he finished the tournament one behind Rodriguez of Colombia.
I really fancied Colombia, and backed all of Falcao (injured before the tournament, money back); Gutierrez 66/1 (one goal); Martinez 50/1 (two goals); and, Bacca 80/1 (played about ten minutes!!). In other words, the only Colombian forward I didn't back was the 150/1 winner of the Golden Boot. Aargh.
I also backed Schurrle at 80/1, and he was limited to impact sub appearances, playing just 244 minutes (compare that with Muller's 682 minutes, or Rodriguez's 400 minutes) but still netted three times. Hrrmph.
Then there was the ugly. We all have a clunker on our scorecard, and I admit that mine was a bloke called Fred. I backed him 'on spec', not knowing much about him. And, I have to say, he was without doubt the worst player in the tournament. Absolutely dreadful. Let's draw a line under that rapidement.
I hope you enjoyed the World Cup, if you're a footy fan, and I hope you made a few quid either from investments on the sport, or from the bookie offers, including last night's World Cup Final freebiefest. I did, I did, and I didn't (because I already had those accounts!)