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View from the Press Room: First 72 hours of the World Cup

On the field, the World Cup in Qatar has got off to an exhilarating start. England and France have set the pace for the outright favourites with respective 6-2 and 4-1 opening group game wins.

However, it is Saudi Arabia who lit up the opening days of the tournament with a magically unexpected 2-1 victory over Argentina

Read more about the Saudi stunners

The much-fancied Argentines, second favourites to lift the trophy going into their Group C opener in Qatar, were in total control at the break after Lionel Messi opened his account from the penalty spot. 

But the Gulf state were transformed after the interval and flipped the game on its head with two goals in the space of five minutes, Saleh Al-Shehri levelling with a low effort and Salem Al Dawsari scoring a peach of a winner.

Parallels with 1990 are obvious. Back then Argentina went into their opener at Italia '90 as the defending champs and duly lost 1-0 to a Cameroon side, who kicked them into submission. 

The Saudis weren't quite that ruthless but they didn't back off as a haul of six yellow cards testifies, before they were able to celebrate their greatest ever result which saw them cut to 350/1 to win the tournament.

Despite the defeat, Lionel Scaloni's South American champions were still 8/15 to qualify from Group C and 13/8 to win it – (the Saudis, should you be tempted after their magnificent first effort, are 7/2 to win the section).

No such thing as a bore draw!

bet365’s Bore Draw Money Back + Offer has been triggered for the first time during the World Cup with the firm refunding over £4m after Denmark and Tunisia and Mexico and Poland fought out 0-0 draws.

On Wednesday morning, we saw a third goalless draw in two days as Morocco claimed a creditable draw with 2018 finalists Croatia. Back in Russia, we saw one 0-0 draw in 64 matches. Today's stalemate means we've had three in 24 hours!

bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “We’ve enhanced our famous Bore Draw offer to include a few more markets as well as Bet Builders in this tournament, so many of our customers won’t be too disappointed that both games finished 0-0.

Read the full Bore Draw + article here

4 Scores Jackpot eluding customers so far!

Who would have predicted that Saudi Arabia would defeat Argentina 2-1? 

Well, 325 players on bet365's 4 Scores did just that! But unfortunately none of the players could go on and correctly predict Tuesday's remaining three fixtures, meaning that we're still on the lookout for our first jackpot winner of the tournament.

It was England who let down the majority of players in Monday's round of fixtures. The 6-2 victory for Gareth Southgate's men was correctly predicted by just 21 players ahead of the round. 

Play 4 Scores Challenge today

In fact, the score line, priced at 450/1 before the game, saw 884 bets placed by patriotic punters before kick-off. There must have been some cheering around the country when Jack Grealish slid in the sixth!

Talking of predictions.....

Just under one in seven 'bet 365 Tournament Predictor' players believe England will go all the way and make history in Qatar this winter. 

The bet365 tournament predictor saw over a million customers predict the outcome of the World Cup finals, with just under 15% of players backing Gareth Southgate’s England side to go all the way in Qatar. 

The Three Lions’ announced themselves on the global stage in scintillating fashion on Monday, notching up six goals en-route to a demolition job over Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium. 

The triumph represented England’s biggest ever victory in their first outing at a major international tournament, and, coupled with Argentina’s shock defeat against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, propelled them into second place (7/1) in the ‘To Win Outright’ market.

Read the full Tournament Predictor insight here

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