France v Germany Preview & Betting Tips: Sakho Back, Ozil The Match-Winner Again?
Preview & betting tips: The quarter-finals of the World Cup kick off with the anticipated clash between France and Germany at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
The quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup kick off with the much anticipated clash between France and Germany this evening at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
The French have been one of the most impressive sides in the tournament so far, breezing through the group stages with comfortable wins over Switzerland and Honduras before being held in a dead-rubber against Ecuador.
Didier Deschamps men then overcame Nigeria 2-0 in the round of 16 knockout phase to book their place in the last 8, and with harmony in the squad looking at an all-time high, you wouldn’t put it past them springing a surprise tonight.
Germany are many people’s favourite’s to lift the World Cup and it’s easy to see why given the array of quality players available to Joachim Loew. They also topped Group G on seven points but were given a real scare by Algeria in the last round when they needed extra time to eventually progress with a 2-1 win.
Mesut Ozil drew criticism from pundits for his performance throughout the game but ended up being the match-winner with his goal for 2-0 proving decisive after the Algerian’s pulled one back in the dying seconds.
The Arsenal playmaker has certainly not been at his best this tournament, but the same could be said of many of the German attackers, with the exception of Thomas Muller, and there’s no denying the 26-year-old has the quality to make a difference at key points in the game. That goal in the last round could have given him confidence and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the one to look-out for this evening.
However, the Germans haven’t hit top form yet and with rumours of an illness sweeping through the camp this week, I can see this game being extremely close – which is why I’m backing it to end in a draw to force extra-time.
France welcome back defender Mamadou Sakho after he recovered from a knee injury. The Liverpool centre-back is expected to replace Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny alongside Raphael Varane at the back.
Olivier Giroud could miss out on a starting spot with Deschamps likely to go with Antoine Greizmann in attack due to his pace – which will cause the Germans a lot of problems.
Germany have several fitness doubts with up to seven players thought to be suffering from a flu bug. Loew has played down the significance and expects the likes of Thomas Muller to be available, while key defender Mats Hummels should also start despite missing the Algeria clash through illness.
Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski is available again after a thigh problem, but Shkodran Mustafi could miss out which is likely to see Boateng switch to right-back.
France (Possible, 4-2-1-3): Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Matuidi, Cabaye; Pogba; Valbuena, Benzema, Griezman.
Germany (Possible, 4-3-3): Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Mertesacker, Howedes; Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Kroos; Özil, Müller, Götze.
We’ve had another steady week and go into the penultimate round of betting sitting fourth in the bwin Bloggers Betting League, but we hope to push closer to the top with some winning picks tonight.
The draw (odds 3.10)
This game is going to be extremely difficult to call and this is reflected in the bookmakers odds with France at 2.80 and Germany at 2.70, so I think the draw at 3.10 is the most likely outcome after 90 minutes. You could get some extra value by backing it to be 1-1 at 5.50.
0-0 at half time (odds 2.35)
The knockout stages were extremely tentative games with only three goals scored in the first halves, and I can see this being the case again this evening, so 0-0 at half time looks a good bet at odds of 2.35.
Under 2.5 goals (odds of 1.60)
With two closely matched teams I can’t see there being a lot of goals in this game, so under 2.5 goals seems a dead cert. The odds of 1.60 don’t offer great value so if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could back a 1-1 scoreline at 5.50, or perhaps chose either side to win 1-0 at 7.50.
bwin World Cup Blogger’s League
We are taking part in the bwin World Cup Blogger’s League, a betting competition between top football sites, to follow our progress head to www.bwinbetting.com.
All of the odds included are sourced from bwin.com and you can find more on bwin’s World Cup offering, including Double/Treble returns, here.
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