Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Brazil V Germany
Tuesday 8th July. 9PM. ITV 1
With a place in the 2014 World Cup final at stake, Felipe Scolari’s Brazil face Joachim Low’s Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Most likely your best bet with so much at stake is under 2.5 goals (4/7, Ladbrokes), but that’s short priced and many of you will want to find a way of deciding who to back to make the final instead.
Surprisingly, Brazil (9/5, BetVictor) started their campaign to win a sixth World Cup by conceding an own goal to Croatia. A Neymar brace and late Oscar goal restored order and gave the Selecao an eventual 3-1 win, however.
Mexico were next, and Brazil were unable to break the deadlock against a rival that played for a 0-0 draw. Cameroon managed to get on the scoresheet in the hosts third group stage game, but Brazil emerged as 4-1 victors. Fred (3/1 Anytime, Bet365) scored his first tournament goal, as did Manchester City’s Fernandinho, but Neymar stole the headlines after bagging another brace.
Brazil looked very likely to add to their early one goal lead against Chile in the second round of World Cup 2014, but Chile drew level just before half time, both teams applied great caution in the second half and Scolari’s charges had to settle for a win via penalties.
A Columbian side featuring the impressive James Rodriguez gave Brazil a late scare when converting a penalty in the quarter-finals, but the Selecao were very much deserved winners in their 2-1 victory.
Notably, both of Brazil’s starting centre-backs scored against Columbia, with David Luiz (9/1 Anytime, Paddy Power) netting a stunning free-kick. Thiago Silva, however, will not play in the semi-finals through suspension.
Along with the loss of Neymar to injury, Silva’s absence is a big blow to Brazil’s chances of making the final. Basically, Brazil will play Germany without their best defender and attacker.
Germany (9/5, Coral) started their 2014 World Cup with a bang by impressively defeating Portugal 4-0 in their opening Group G game. Thomas Muller (13/5 Anytime, BetVictor) netted a hat-trick and was the star of the show, but he drew a blank in Germany’s second game – an unexpected 2-2 draw with Ghana.
In that game, Mario Gotze gave Germany the lead after a lacklustre first half, which Ghana arguably shaded, before the Africans raced into a 2-1 lead. As I’d thought might happen in Germany’s first game if the score was level at half time, the now joint all-time top scorer of the World Cup, Miroslav Klose, came off the bench to draw his team level.
Klose probably should have broken the aforementioned record in Germany’s 1-0 defeat of USA in their third and final Group G game, but after he didn’t I expected the veteran striker would do so against an Algerian side that struggled to defend crosses.
However, to my absolute horror, with Germany creating little of note offensively and the game tied at 0-0, Klose (13/5 Anytime, BetVictor) was never introduced in his usual substitute role.
Of course, Germany eventually won the game 2-1 in an extra-time period that was far better entertainment than the 90 minutes that preceded it, but it appeared that ‘Jogi’ Low now had several players who were more physically drained than they needed to be.
Rumours of a flu virus within the Germany squad then spread, and I recommended France + 0.25 when the two met in the quarter-finals, thinking that Deschamps better-rested players should be able to get a 90 minute draw or better.
But no, Germany took a first half lead through Hummels’ header and that was that – the game eventually finished 1-0 and the Germans qualified for the semi-finals.
Apart from winning on Klose Anytime scorer at 9/2 in-play, I’ve been beaten in every Germany game I’ve bet on! Sometimes I’ve been unlucky and my logic worked wonders in the next game instead, sometimes I just put too much faith on the wrong side of the handicap.
The only thing I can conclude about Germany from a betting perspective is that they find a way to progress. As such and with Brazil’s Neymar ruled out of the Wold Cup through injury, Germany to qualify at 10/11 looks like a sensible bet.
Of course, Brazil enjoy home advantage, will likely get the ‘better end’ of refereeing decisions and can produce the sort of relentless attacking football that destroyed Spain – who play a similar short passing game to Germany – in the Confederations Cup final, so they could be the kryptonite to Low’s favoured tiki-taki style.
But with so much at stake and Brazil missing key players, you have to wonder whether ‘Big Phil’ will apply a cautious approach and therefore reduce the likelihood of a dominant offensive performance, and Germany are doing the bare minimum to win games – just like eventual winners Spain did in 2010.
In conclusion, anything could happen, there’s no standout pick in who progresses to the final, but I’ve decided that the Germans either allow me the pleasure of winning one pre-match World Cup bet on them or are eliminated and unable to cause further pain in the next round!
My guess: Germany to qualify (10/11, Paddy Power)