While New Zealand aren't going to be World Cup winners, they could be worth a punt to quality from Group G after one of their greatest results in history.
Last Updated: 06/06/10 11:55am
The All Whites are 1000/1 to win the World Cup. So, no chance of me blogging about the final in a few weeks.
But 12/1 to qualify from the group stage might be worth a few-bob flutter after seeing the results of last week's pre-cup warm up friendlies.
I have these reports from my contact Down Under:
"When the All Whites took on Australia, little was expected from the Kiwis against a side ranked 20 in the World.
Before the game, the arrogant Aussie team and media played down the importance of the game for the home side. The Kiwis on the other hand saw this game as a chance to get one up on their trans-Tasman rivals.
Although New Zealand lost 2-1 thanks to a winner scored with literally the last kick of the game, there were many more positives than negatives to draw from the contest.
The All Whites dominated the first half, making Australia look very ordinary. They created at least three clear-cut scoring opportunities and limited the Aussies to half chances. Their 3-4-3 formation with target man Rory Fallon dominating in the air proved difficult to combat.
At no stage did the All Whites look outclassed and Kiwis will have increased confidence that their side will at least be competitive when the world cup comes around.
NZ 1, Serbia 0 - what a result! Arguably the All White's greatest ever result against a team ranked 16 in the world and featuring a host of stars from Europe's top league competitions.
Sure, it was only a friendly, and does not simulate a World Cup encounter but hey, there is no denying that was a top performance from a team who unfortunately now can't go "under the radar" for any longer.
The Serbian fans were frustrated with the All White's resilience on Saturday, forcing the game to be stopped for a while after hurling missiles onto the pitch before invading it!
I'm not getting carried away. New Zealand will still do well to come out of the World Cup with a point, but now there has to be belief within the team that it might (just might) be possible to sneak a win and a draw to make it through to the knock-out stages.
Paraguay and Slovakia will now at least be worrying a little more about their Antipodean opposition than they were a couple of weeks ago.
Italy may not feel they have to worry, but that is a game where the Kiwis have nothing to lose and Italy could look very silly if they don't take a second look at this New Zealand side which is starting to gain more media attention back home then their rugby counterparts."
There's always a dark horse in every competition, so who knows? I may well get to write about a new chapter in New Zealand sports history - and pocket a few quid at the same time.