Ireland-based Paddy Power said it had paid more than NZ$1 million (R6.35 million) to punters who were backing red-hot favourites the All Blacks in the final at Auckland’s Eden Park, despite their habit of choking on the World Cup stage.
“We’ve called it, we’ve said ‘game over’,” owner Paddy Power told Radio New Zealand.
“It’s so one-sided the final, I mean France must be the worst team ever to reach a World Cup final and New Zealand are absolutely awesome this time around, so we’ve paid out already, taken our chances.”
The bookmaker had New Zealand at 1/12 to lift the Cup, with France rated 6/1 outsiders.
“If they do happen to win and are the banana skin for New Zealand that they’ve been in the past, then we’re going to be left with some very expensive egg on our faces,” Power said.
“We’ve had our fingers burnt in the past, we’ve had a few things like the English Premier League where the ‘wrong’ team has won in the end.”
While Kiwis remain anxious about the final after shock losses at the hands of Les Bleus in 1999 and 2007, Power was confident the All Blacks would repeat their 1987 success over France, also at Eden Park, to win the inaugural final.
“I know you’re all down there with your legs crossed, your fingers crossed, your toes crossed and everything,” he said.
“But in reality, look at this in the cold light of day, from a neutral’s perspective, and New Zealand are absolute penalty kicks (certainties to win).”