Is there any chance of World Cup 2nd round?

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Is there any chance, whatsoever, of the Socceroos progressing to the second round of the World Cup in Brazil next June?

On paper, even the most ardent Aussie soccer nationalist would probably have to say no. In a group featuring both the 2010 World Cup finalists and a South American team that many expert pundits see as something of a dark horse for the whole tournament in the shape of Chile – we would seem to have virtually zero chance of progressing.

But that, of course, is our single main advantage over the opposition in our Group B – which, by the way, surely comes closest to being this particular World Cup’s group of death? The fact that no-one is giving the Socceroos a cat in hell’s chance in any of the three group stage games (save, arguably, the Chile game) means we can surprise on the upside. You can be sure that the two European big guns in our group, holders Spain and 2010 runners-up Holland, will see their games against Aus as a shoo-in. Meanwhile, Chile will be looking to their games against the two European sides as dangerous encounters for which they’ll really have to be at the races to stand a chance.

The potential advantage Australia has here is the fact that we play the Chileans first. This is by far our best chance of a win on paper – whilst Chile will see it as the easiest of their three games by far and may even save some key players. If we can spring a surprise in this game – anything is possible, particularly against the Dutch who are nothing like the force they were just four years ago. And if we can spring another surprise in this, our second game, then the third and final encounter against the Spaniards won’t matter a jot.

In short, the Socceroos have a bit of a chance of going through if things fall right. But the interesting thing is that no-one gives us a chance of progressing – least of all the bookies. In fact, Australia are 50-1 to make the quarter-finals, the longest odds of any team in the competition, thanks mainly to the fact that no-one things we can progress from the group.

In fact, Aus are 13/2 just to win their opening game against Chile. Now this may just be a shrewd bet.  Chile’s coach Sampaoli is a guy who goes for the jugular – playing a straightforward attacking style – and letting teams come back at them. This may just favour Australia if we play a defensive style trying to hit Chile on the break. They scored more than anyone else in qualifying – but conceded most, too. They’re also a little volatile – with more sendings off than any other South America team in qualifying.

So if we play the right way, we can beat Chile – then anything’s possible – so that 13/2 looks like an interesting punt. And if you pay your cards right – there may even be a way of having a free bet. With 32Red, there are some huge introductory bonuses on offer for the casino – and you can play casino games here. So if you play a careful; strategy, you could easily end up with a reasonable stake – most of which should be free – which you can then transfer to your 32Red sports book account and “invest” in a patriotic punt on the Socceroos.

Remember – in the World Cup, anything can happen and it usually does!