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Kiwi Betting Record Likely On Soccer World Cup

Sunday 26 May 2002

New Zealanders are expected to bet more than $10 million on the month-long FIFA World Cup that starts on Friday 31 May - that’s two and a half times more than they bet on the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

TAB soccer bookmaker Kevin Romyn says the Soccer World Cup is going to be the biggest ever sporting event for the TAB since sports betting started in 1996.

“In terms of television viewing, the World Cup is the number one sporting event and New Zealanders will be able to watch every game live. The time difference between New Zealand and South Korea and Japan means it is ideal for not only viewing but betting as well,” he said.

The TAB has Argentina and France going into the tournament as joint favourites.

“Argentina topped the South American qualifying group by a massive 12 points while France, after the victory on home soil four years ago, have gone on to record an impressive string of international results, including winning Euro 2000. So it’s hard to look past those two teams.”

Romyn said it’s hard to see a winner outside the top eight, which includes Italy, Brazil, Spain, England and Portugal.

“Italy were runners up in Euro 2000 and are on the easier side of the draw. Under-performing Brazil has got so many superstars and are also in an easier group so could play themselves into form.

“Spain are the perennial dark horse and will be hoping for once that their club form transfers itself onto the international stage while Portugal are rated by many. They’re also on a good side of the draw and didn’t lose a qualifying game,” said Romyn.

Romyn said England would need a fit Beckham to have any chance of making any impact on the tournament.

The TAB has released its odds for the first round of games with defending champions France at $1.30 favourites over African newcomers Senegal at $9.00 in the opening game with the draw at $4.50.

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FIFA 2002 World Cup Interesting Facts

- The TAB expects 2002 World Cup turnover to be up to $10 million - double the amount bet in 1998.

- New Zealanders will bet two and a half times more on the Soccer World Cup than the Rugby World Cup.

- The most favourite bet type option for New Zealanders is expected to be head to head.

- With no New Zealand team to back, the TAB expects New Zealanders will back traditional kiwi favourites England and Ireland as well as international favourites like France, Argentina, Brazil and Italy.

- The World Cup finals are the world’s number one sporting event and since Mexico 1986 the television numbers have trebled.

- The 1998 World Cup in France was watched by an accumulative television audience of over 37 billion.

- The 1998 World Cup final alone was watched by 1.3 billion television viewers in 196 countries

- A group of visionary French football administrators led by Jules Rimet are credited with the original idea of bringing the world’s strongest national football teams together in 1930.

- The competition was held three times in the 1930s before the Second World War put a 12-year stop to the competition.

- Brazil, with four World Cup wins, holds the record for the most successes.

- Brazil is also the only team to have competed in all 16 World Cups.

- This is the first World Cup since 1990 where all previous winners will take part in the World Cup finals.

- Six of the 16 World Cup finals have been won by the host country - the most recently was in France 1998, when they outplayed Brazil 3-0.

- 174,000 people attended the 1950 World Cup Final in Brazil, the record for a World Cup game, compared with 300 people at a 1930 game in Uruguay.

- The most number of goals in a World Cup final was in 1958 when Brazil beat Sweden 5-2.

- Only two countries which reached the finals have failed to score any goals. Argentina in 1990 when beaten by West Germany 1-0, and Brazil last year when beaten by France 3-0. There’s only been a nil-all draw once, in 1994. Brazil went on to beat Italy 3-2 on penalties.


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