World Cup watch: Jese injury blow scuppers spot with Spain at finals
It’s the turn of reigning World and European champions Spain to suffer a serious injury in the run-up to the World Cup finals in Brazil.
The holders are 7/1 shots to retain the trophy on South American soil, but will have to do so without rising star Jese Rodriguez.
Real Madrid academy product Jese, 21, sustained cruciate knee ligament damage as Carlo Ancelotti’s side thumped Bundesliga outfit Schalke 9-2 on aggregate in the Champions League last 16. He was stretchered off after seven minutes of the 3-1 second leg victory at the Bernabeu.
Spain national boss Vicente del Bosque had indicated that Jese was in the frame to receive his maiden senior call-up ahead of the World Cup, but his injury has ruled him out until next season.
Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara is also being watched closely by the La Roja coach.
Del Bosque’s side have been drawn with the Netherlands, Chile and Australia in Group B at the finals. Spain are odds-on favourites both to win this pool at 4/6, and qualify from it for the knockout phase at 1/8.
In other news, Real icon Cristiano Ronaldo took his Champions League tally to 14 from just seven outings in this season’s competition. Gareth Bale, who replaced Jese, assisted the first Madrid goal for the Portugal skipper.
Paulo Bento’s boys are 33/1 to win the World Cup in former Portuguese colony Brazil. Ronaldo, who is record marksman for his country, is joint second-favourite with Coral to be top scorer at the finals (alongside tournament poster boy Neymar) at 14/1.
Germany stand in Portugal’s way if they are to top World Cup Group G. Ronaldo and his national teammates are second-favourites behind them to win that pool at 11/4, but the Iberian outfit are odds-on to make the knockout phase at 1/2.
Cameroon captain Samuel Eto’o was on target for club side Chelsea in their Champions League victory over Galatasaray. The former Barcelona player, who also won the European Cup with Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, profited from poor keeping by Uruguay goalie Fernando Muslera.
Eto’o and the Indomitable Lions are 500/1 outsiders to win the World Cup, as they were drawn in Group A with hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico. All those sides are reckoned more likely either to top this pool or qualify from it by Coral.
Punters that fancy Eto’o to roll back the years and fire Cameroon through should take odds of 4/1 on them making the knockout phase.