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Slovakia are expected to get their World Cup underway with a win over New Zealand – Simon Hopper previews the World Cup betting

Group F
New Zealand v Slovakia
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Kick off: 12:30pm BST.

Group F minnows New Zealand and Slovakia meet in a crucial game in Rustenburg on Tuesday.

Reigning champions Italy are expected to progress to the last 16 along with Paraguay but both New Zealand and Slovakia will hope to spring a surprise.

The All Whites of New Zeland are taking part in their first World Cup since 1982, while Slovakia are making their debut as an independent nation. While this is Slovakia’s first appearance at the finals, they competed as part of Czechoslovakia until 1990, reaching World Cup finals in 1934 and 1962

New Zealand will have captain Ryan Nelsen available despite the Blackburn player missing the final warm-up game against Chile with an ear infection.

However, vice-captain Tim Brown lost a race to be fit to face Slovakia, but should be ready for the next two Group F games, coach Ricki Herbert said.

Midfielder Brown only arrived in South Africa last week after surgery to fix a shoulder broken in the warm-up against Australia.

“(Brown) came up a fraction short but hopefully he will be fit for the Italy and Paraguay games,” Herbert told reporters.

For Slovakia, defender Martin Skrtel is expected to recover from an ankle problem he sustained in a warm-up game against Costa Rica.

Miroslav Stoch had also seemed doubtful due to a knee injury that has prevented him from training with the rest of the squad but he is confident of being fit.

Manchester City youngster Weiss, son of coach Vladimir sr, said: “We have seen the New Zealanders play against Serbia, we know what we can expect from them.

“We will obviously try to get all three points. When we play we will build on the work against Costa Rica.

“I believe that the New Zealand match will turn out as we all want.”

Teams:
New Zealand: Paston, Reid, Nelsen, Smith, Sigmund; Killen, Vicelich, Christie, Bertos; Smeltz, Fallon.

Slovakia (probable): Mucha, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Cech; Weiss, Strba, Hamsik, Stoch; Vittek, Sestak.

Slovakia are expected to get their World Cup underway with a win over New Zealand – Simon Hopper previews the World Cup betting

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