Germany destroyed Brazil in the World Cup semi-final – can they do the same to Argentina?

Can Germany's Toni Kroos add to the two goals he scored against Brazil?

Can Germany’s Toni Kroos add to the two goals he scored against Brazil?

Back in 2011, former England defender Gary Neville said of David Luiz “He plays football like he’s being controlled by a 10-year-old on a Playstation”. And there were certainly aspects of Playstation-style football on Tuesday put a remarkable seven goals past Brazil, including four in a breathtaking six-minute spell before half-time.

Argentina’s semi-final against the Netherlands couldn’t have been more different, with Alejandro Sabella’s team needing a penalty shoot-out to see off the Oranje. Argentina go into Sunday’s final as underdogs, with Intertops.eu match odds having the Albiceleste at +120 and Germany at +154 (all odds are subject to change).

The margin of victory is unlikely to be anywhere close to the semi-final, with Argentina having played out six tight games so far, but Jogi Löw’s Germany have plenty of firepower. Thomas Müller has already scored five goals for the second World Cup running, and two more will see the Bayern Munich player end the tournament with the Golden Boot. He is +200 for that honor, with Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez (who has six goals, but has been eliminated from the tournament) the -200 favorite.

Will we see a repeat of the 1986 final – when Argentina edged past Germany in a five-goal thriller – or will it be more like the 1990 final when the European side had their revenge with a 1-0 win?

It has been an incredible tournament so far, but a classic final would truly cap it off. Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below.

Germany v Argentina, Sunday, July 13

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tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

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USA should have enough to make World Cup second round

The USA needs a point to guarantee back-to-back appearances in the knockout stages

The USA needs a point against Germany to guarantee back-to-back appearances in the World Cup knockout stages

We may not always be listening, but North Korea is talking, and the word from Pyongyang is “this World Cup is great stuff, guys!” And while that’s more the gist of what they’re saying rather than anyone’s actual words, it seems to sum up the mood of a nation consumed by World Cup fever pretty well. Local football nut Ryang Min Ho, a section chief of the Pyongyang Vegetable Science Institute and man for some reason quoted by the state broadcaster, the Korean Central News Agency, as a source for this story, said, “I am closely following the result of every match.”

 

Meanwhile, experts have taken a pretty dim view of the Spanish efforts at the tournament. “Even a strong team may have a bitter experience of defeat,” Yu Myong Uk, an official of the DPRK Football Association, told the KCNA, “It seems to me that Spanish “tiki-taka” is going bankrupt.”

Of all the predictions I’m about to make, I’m most sure of this one: we won’t see the North Koreans playing tiki-taka at the World Cup anytime soon. I found the North Korean update wedged between one story headlined “New Kinds of Paint Developed in DPRK” and another about a “New Species of Seedless Sweet Grape,” but I digress. The point is that the World Cup isn’t just about countries that still have a shot of winning it, and with that in mind we move onto the last few games of the group stage.

 

World Cup Group E Qualification odds:

France first and Switzerland second -333

France first and Ecuador second +200

France first and Honduras second +6600

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

In Group E, Switzerland will probably beat Honduras to leave Ecuador needing a win against France to progress to the round of sixteen. It’s hard to gauge just how deep France can go in the competition – their goal difference just about ensures them of their spot in the first knockout round, but Switzerland and Honduras hardly represent the same challenges as Germany and the Netherlands have faced, and hell, it’s France, the same guys who made the final in 2006, then really, really didn’t in 2010. Weirdly, this time they seem to have their act together.

The French should win their group, motivated by the likelihood of a game against Nigeria or Iran in the next round. Argentina are first in Group F, and will play Nigeria for top spot while Iran will hope to beat an already eliminated Bosnia-Herzegovina and have the South Americans knock the Africans out for them. The maths is hard, so don’t worry about it – Messi should take care of Nigeria by himself ahead of the serious part of the tournament, and Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina seems like the kind of game that’ll be a draw because Asian teams don’t look capable of a win in Brazil.

 

Group G is a little bit more difficult to call. I tried a sentence-long paragraph that read, “It’s the World Cup, baby, anything can happen,” but I couldn’t be sure that my editor wanted me to be so concise (good decision – ed.). Germany stalled against Ghana but only need to avoid defeat against the English language’s last hope, the United States, to finish top of a bruising group . It’s easy to say that Germany will win purely because they’re better than the US, so let’s go with that – the Americans looked drained by their draw against Portugal, and they’re not as good at football as their opponents can be. Portugal, meanwhile, need a five goal swing and Sepp Blatter’s blessing to overtake Jurgen Klinsmann’s men in second place, while Germany and the US can decide to draw to take them both through and we won’t even need to watch Portugal’s win over Ghana. The Germans and the Portuguese should win, but the US are favourites to progress – it’s the World Cup, baby, anything can happen!

Betting Instinct tip – The Germany-Portugal double is 3.83 with Intertops.eu

 

I’ve just remembered that Group H is also going on. Russia have been underwhelming at best and need to win against Algeria for the opportunity to play tired football against whoever makes it out of Group G, while South Korea should ensure Belgium run out unbeaten by letting things happen as they usually do and losing what will almost certainly be their last match in Brazil. Belgium have two fairly unconvincing wins so far and would take a third, but the darkest horse in this World Cup’s midnight stable will still want to show that they’re capable of living up to everyone’s expectations by winning every game from here to the final by at least five goals to nil.

 

The group stage of the 2014 World Cup is almost over, but they’re throwing us Wimbledon now and the cycling in a week to ease us into the comedown. Enjoy the last of half of the field as you will – I’ll go with the North Koreans on this one, calling up my local newspaper to “express my feelings or propose creative opinions on developing the football of the nation.” Exciting times ahead.

 

Unfamiliar with American or decimal odds? Check out our handy conversion guide.

 

Max avatar MAX GRIEVE (maxjgri) is Australian, but keep reading. He likes football, rugby union and tennis, though  has  given up on his dream of being a tri-sport athlete/exciting millionaire. He supports Liverpool, and is    ashamed for doing so. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

Mexico or Croatia to join Brazil in the last 16?

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Seven days into the World Cup and Group A is rather finely poised after two games. Mexico proved to be the battling opponents that everyone expected them to be and that has left Brazil needing a win in their final game to top the group.

That victory will come. There had been some suggestion that with Group B playing their final round of games a couple of hours before Brazil kick-off against Cameroon, the home team may be able to “choose” their opponents in the second round. The winners of the Chile versus Netherlands clash will top the group also featuring the 2010 World Cup winners, Spain. However, such a ploy from Brazil offers too much risk. Were they to lose against Samuel Eto’o’s Lions – an unlikely prospect given their lacklustre showings so far – then a draw in Group A’s other match would dump the Seleção out of the competition. That doesn’t bear thinking about.

That also gives Cameroon credit that they don’t deserve. Wednesday night’s 0-4 drubbing at the hands of Croatia means that The Indomitable Lions have now lost their last six World Cup matches in a row. You have to go back to El Salvador’s run in 1982 for the last time a team had such a poor run; and there has been little to suggest that they can turn it around for their final group game.

Before the Cameroon squad arrived in Brazil they were complaining about the bonuses they were due from their Football Association. The players just haven’t looked motivated to chase either of the games so far, and it’s unlikely to be any different against a Brazilian side with their eyes on an important victory. If Brazil don’t win to nil, it’ll be incredibly surprising. If Neymar or Fred find a way to break the deadlock in the opening 10-15 minutes, they could run up a cricket score.

Betting Instinct tip Brazil to win by three or more goals is 1.88 with Intertops.eu

 

The real action on Monday evening will be in the game that decides who will join Brazil in the knock-out stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Mexico and Croatia will be staring across from the team they need to overcome to set-up a clash with either Chile or the Netherlands; but they will both be wary that events that have already occurred in the competition won’t be repeated.

Guillermo Ochoa won’t repeat his performance against Brazil. The 28 year-old was the star of the Mexican resistance as he repelled a string of Brazilian efforts and held on to an unlikely clean sheet. However, Ochoa is know as a hit-and-miss ‘keeper. He would be playing at a level above AC Ajaccio in Ligue 1 if he were able to produce such displays on anything close to a regular basis. Unfortunately for Mexico, that’ll mean they can’t rely on Ochoa to dig them out of a hole.

For Croatia, it means that they are unlikely to concede a penalty as soft as the one given for Brazil in the opening match of the tournament. The European side were more than competitive against the tournament hosts until Fred was controversially felled in the area and Neymar stroked them into the lead. They could have replicated Mexico’s result against Luis Felipe Scolari’s team and can feel hard done by to be the side entering the final game with a point to make up.

 

Croatia need to win. Their 4-0 victory over Cameroon will be proof enough for their players that the Lions aren’t going to upset Brazil. A draw – taking them to four points for the group – won’t be enough. They’ll need to be positive from off and they’ll need to score goals. Ivan Perišić has transitioned wonderfully from a bit-part player in Borussia Dortmund’s squad to a stand-out in Wolfsburg’s midfield. He’s been excellent for Croatia so far, creating a string of chances and putting an opportunity on a plate for Ivica Olic to finish.

Of course with Niko Kovač’s men forced to be positive, things will play into the hands of Mexico and the pace they possess in attack. Javier Hernandez will probably still be held in reserve with Oribe Peralta once again partnering Giovani dos Santos, although there is a temptation to unleash the Manchester United forward’s speed from the start of the game. If Mexico can catch Croatia as the European side commit bodies forward, they can pick them off and secure a spot in the last 16 for the sixth successive World Cup.

It’d be a bold man that tried to pick a winner. The strength of the Croatian side and the fine seasons that they all enjoyed probably means that Mario Mandžukić and company are just about favourites to win. It’ll be easier to just go into it expecting goals. Based on the exploits of the 2014 World Cup so far, at least two each isn’t a ridiculous thing to look for.

Betting Instinct tip More than 3.5 goals in Mexico v Croatia is 3.75 with AllYouBet.ag

 

Not used to decimal odds? Check out our odds conversion guide.

Ryan avatarRYAN KEANEY (ryankeaney) is a huge sports fan who spends most of his week toying around with sports data. He is the editor of www.thefootballproject.net and a co-editor for In Bed with Maradona. Follow Ryan on Twitter or Google+.

World Cup 2014: Ones to Watch

The World Cup often sees lesser-known players steal the spotlight

The World Cup often sees lesser-known players steal the spotlight

With this year’s World Cup now under a week away, Betting Instinct has the lowdown on some players to look out for in Brazil.

 

Admir Mehmedi – Switzerland

The Swiss national side are regarded by many to be the weakest of the eight seeds, but they have some top talent in their squad, including a number of players of Albanian descent.

Xherdan Shaqiri has blown hot and cold since moving to Bayern Munich last summer, while another former FC Basel youngster, Granit Xhaka, has also laid down a marker in the German Bundesliga. In central midfield, captain Gökhan Inler will be flanked by Napoli duo Valon Behrami and Blerim Džemaili, but much of the talk going into the tournament surrounds Mehmedi.

After an unremarkable spell with Dinamo Kyiv, the former FC Zurich man has top-scored for SC Freiburg this season with 12 goals, earning a permanent move to the German club last month. He will face competition for a starting place with the likes of Josip Drmić, but there is no doubt that the 23-year-old comes into the tournament in high spirits.

Betting Instinct tip – Switzerland to win their opener against Ecuador is 2.28 with GR88.com

 

 

Shinji Okazaki – Japan

Another German-based player, Okazaki has more international goals than any other player in Group C with the exception of Côte d’Ivoire captain Didier Drogba.

The experienced forward stood out at last year’s Confederations Cup, scoring the third goal in an agonising 4-3 defeat against Italy and also finding the net against Mexico, and he will hope to flourish in Brazil for the second summer running.

Japan are in one of the more open groups in this year’s World Cup, but will need Okazaki and team-mates such as Shinji Kagawa to fire on all cylinders if they are to make it to the knockout stages.

Betting Instinct tip – More than 2.5 goals in Japan’s opener against the Ivorians is 2.34 with GR88.com

 

 

Keylor Navas – Costa Rica

On paper the rank outsiders in Group D, Jorge Luis Pinto’s side were dealt a huge blow when their squad’s top scorer Álvaro Saborio suffered a metatarsal injury that will rule him out of the entire World Cup.

This puts even more pressure on the Central Americans’ defence, and goalkeeper Navas is expected to be in the thick of the action as Los Ticos take on three formidable opponents in England, Italy and Uruguay.

However the 27-year-old shot-stopper has relished his underdog status at Levante, helping the minnows to a top-half finish in La Liga for only the second time in the last 50-years. After helping his country to a second-place finish in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying – with the best defensive record in the confederation – Navas and his team-mates will hope to spring a surprise or two.

Betting Instinct tip Costa Rica to hold Uruguay to a 0-0 draw is 8.60 with GR88.com

 

 

GR88.com is holding a $1m prediction challenge for the World Cup. Anyone who wants to give themselves a chance of scooping the seven-figure jackpot, or the very generous $100,000 consolation prize, needs to head to worldcup.gr88.com/picks and make their selections for the 48 group games. Terms and conditions apply.

 

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Swiss set for World Cup surprise!

Are the Swiss a team to watch in Brazil?

Ottmar Hitzfeld could make a splash with Switzerland at the World Cup!

“Been there, done that”, would be an appropriate phrase to sum up Ottmar Hitzfeld’s glittering coaching career, but the veteran still has one major goal before he retires in just a few weeks’ time – to make a World Cup splash with the Swiss national team.

After winning all that there is to win in club football with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Hitzfeld took over the reins of the “Nati” in 2008. He led his young side to the World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010, where they became the only team to defeat the future champions from Spain. The campaign ended, however, in a frustrating exit after the group phase following a loss to Chile and a disappointing draw with Honduras. Four years on, Hitzfeld has a squad that has gained plenty of international experience playing in some of Europe’s top leagues and could well be ready to spring a surprise or two in Brazil. The likes of Gökhan Inler, Blerim Dzemali and Valon Behrami (Napoli), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg) and Granit Xhaka (Monchengladbach) all play major roles at their clubs and know that they have the class to succeed at the top level.

Drawn to face France, Ecuador and Honduras (again) in Group E, there is every reason to believe that Hitzfeld’s team can progress to the knockout phase this time around. The German coach will have the perfect match-plan for each opponent and his quality players have both the skill and the will to go far and so present their boss with the perfect retirement present!

Switzerland to win Group E: Odds 3.75

Switzerland to beat France: Odds 3.5

Switzerland to reach the World Cup quarterfinals: Odds 4.0

All odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct as of today but subject to change.

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.