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Odds against the U.S.

Betfair's market makes Ghana's Black Stars 13-10 favorites over the U.S. on Thursday. The all-important U.S. victory is currently rated at about 5-2. The other requirement for the U.S. to go through is a win by Italy, priced at 11-10 (forget the unlikely goal difference scenarios associated with a draw in this game). U.S. qualification - i.e. the joint outcome - is priced at 11-2.

If these prices are approximately efficient, passage to the round of 16 and the right to face Brazil is possible, though unlikely, for the U.S. That won't keep me from watching!

Other bits and pieces from Betfair: Argentina are nipping at Brazil's heels for favoritism to win the tournament, both priced around 4-1. England and Germany are rated at 8-1, followed by Spain (10-1), Italy (13), Holland (15), and the pack. I don't write short odds contracts, but taking bets on France at 24-1 looks like stealing money.

Speaking of France, here is a stat from one of Rob Hughes' more temperate columns:

It is said by French mathematicians that in 52 internationals when Thierry Henry and Zidane have been on the same pitch not once has Zizou provided the pass for a Henry goal. If true, then somebody else had better do it.

That should have changed in the play that lead to Zidane's booking yesterday. Nevertheless, Zidane's absence vs. Togo might, ironically, work to France's advantage. What are the odds against a Henry hat trick this Friday?