IT WAS an exciting start to the 2010 World Cup with a tight game between hosts South Africa and Mexico ending in a draw, and an equally tight game between England and the USA. But football traders will be focused on the next games on the schedule.

Today sees the Netherlands take on Denmark in Group E and there are plenty of opportunities for some canny spread bets ahead of the game at 12.30pm. Holland is typically a strong team but its footballing history has been littered with stories of unfufilled potential. However, those expecting more from the Dutch in 2010 should take a look at extrabet’s Netherlands 100 index, currently trading at 32-35. Teams that get knocked out in the semi-finals get 50 points, runners-up receive 75 and the winners get a full 100.

The Dutch have been involved in some fiery games in the past but under head coach Bert van Marwijk they have been well-disciplined. In their eight qualifiers they only exceeded two bookings in one match and had no cards at all in four of the games. It will depend on the referee, but a sell of Sporting Index’s Netherlands team bookings for the match at 17 looks decent value. (It’s 10 points for a yellow and 25 for a red.)

Robin van Persie had a frustrating season with Arsenal due to injury but he is a top quality striker on his day and has scored four goals in Holland’s last three warm-up games. The Group E favourites will be hoping to go all the way this year and van Persie will be vital to their chances. Sporting Index is offering a spread of 23-26 on the total number of goal minutes for van Persie.

Group F kicks off at 7.30pm this evening with Italy and Paraguay battling it out. However, a high-scoring game is unlikely – defence is often the best form of attack for the Italians and Paraguay haven’t scored more than two goals in a game in their last 10 starts. Selling extrabet’s total match goals at 2.1-2.3 might well be a savvy trade.

Tomorrow, favourites Brazil make their debut against North Korea. While the Samba Boys might be happy with a 2-0 win, they could try to send a message to the rest of the competition and go to town. Traders could buy Brazil supremacy – a prediction on the winning margin, in goals, of one team versus another– at 2.7 with Sporting Index.