Fifa World Cup: NZ footy punters' bets top $18.3m

By Mathew Dearnaley

Brazil and Chile game proves lucrative for the TAB, attracting bets of $550,000.

An ecstatic Brazilian supporter holds up a message for their beaten opponents after his side won. Photo / AP
An ecstatic Brazilian supporter holds up a message for their beaten opponents after his side won. Photo / AP

Suspense during yesterday morning's Fifa World Cup match between Brazil and Chile proved too much for a Kiwi punter who bet $2000 in extra time on the losing side.

With the score at 1-1, the spectator was tempted by the TAB's moving-odds offer of $22,000 for victory for Chile in the game, which kicked off at 4am New Zealand time.

But it was not to be, as Brazil pounded Chile with two more goals in the subsequent shoot-out, to send the team back home across the Andes after being defeated 3-2 on penalties.

Watch: FIFA bans Suarez for biting opponent

That was not the biggest financial loss for New Zealand football fans yesterday morning.

As the TAB raked in $950,000 of bets across two knock-out matches, another punter put down $10,000 just before the Colombia-Uruguay kickoff at 8am, for both sides to score goals.

"With Colombia winning 2-0, of course that bet played into our pocket," said the organisation's senior football bookmaker, Gary Pearn.

Mr Pearn said the TAB also took in several $5000 bets for yesterday's matches, but he did not have details to hand of which way they went. The Brazil-Chile encounter was the most lucrative, attracting bets of $550,000 thanks to the extra-time impasse, broken only by the goal shoot-out.

Yesterday's matches have pushed the value of bets placed for this football tournament above $18.3 million - about $5 million more than when the All Whites competed in the 2010 World Cup.

The TAB puts that down to the high goal count and compelling matches, in which the Netherlands are the overwhelming betting favourites of New Zealanders to win.

That could all be history this morning, though, after a 4am kickoff in the knock-out match between the Netherlands and Mexico. The TAB was yesterday offering $2 for every $1 bet on the Dutch and $3.60c for a win by their opponents with $3.30c for a draw.

The largest sum bet in this tournament has been $94,000 placed at $1.30 to $1, successful only because of a late goal to Uruguay against England. The biggest return has been to a punter who won $113,725 for $40 - for betting on the half-time and full-time scores of four matches - at odds of 2844 to one.

England fan's ear chomped in Cup fight

A man had half his ear bitten off when two England fans got into an altercation during the side's World Cup game against Uruguay in Brazil, police in Britain say.

The assault at the game in Sao Paulo on June 19 left the man with half of his left ear ripped off and bloodied, they said.

A fan has made a complaint and police have the name of a suspect but no arrests have been made, the Association of Chief Police Officers said.

England lost the game 2-1.

British police issued a statement after former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore tweeted that he had seen footage of the fan attack.

Video footage obtained by the Sunday People newspaper appears to show the incident on the top tier of the Arena Corinthians.

Several men can be seen in a melee before one is led away by stewards.

When asked what happened, the victim appears to tell the camera: "He bit off my ear and called me a black c***."

Blood can be seen dripping down his neck but he continues to smile and laugh.

Police went to England's final match against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte in case the assailant went to the match but did not find him.

- APNZ

- NZ Herald

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