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World Cup Day 5 – Betting Preview

16/6/2014
Proceedings kick-off in World Cup Group G on Monday with no matches as yet finishing as a draw out of the eleven played so far in this tournament. The first game of the day between Germany and Portugal could well end the wait for draw backers, as this mouth-watering affair in Salvador could see the star-studded European heavyweights cancel each other out. The two nations have become very familiar adversaries in major tournament football in recent years, having met on four occasions since Euro 2000. None of those games have ended all square yet this fifth encounter could well be different, with neither outfit likely to want to give up too much ground on their main rivals so early in the toughest group to call.

Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to play after an injury–punctuated build-up, but he will be monitored closely by a well-marshalled German backline playing in front of arguably the best goalkeeper in the world today in Manuel Neuer. The first draw of the World Cup looks set to be this game.

Tip: Germany vs Portugal – Draw @ 11/4 (Bet365)

The second game of the day takes place in Curitiba between Nigeria and Iran, and with Argentina opening their account last night with a fractious yet winning performance against newcomers Bosnia and Herzegovina, this match looks like an ideal opportunity for the reigning African champions to achieve favouritism for a second place finish in Group F. The Super Eagles’ build-up to the tournament has not been overly impressive - underwhelming draws with Scotland and Mexico as well as a defeat to the United States - but tournament football is a different kettle of fish to friendlies and Stephen Keshi has kept faith in the bulk of the squads that won the AFCON in 2013 and gained crucial experience in the Confederations Cup in Brazil last summer. Iran may well benefit from the freedom of low expectation and they can play some tidy stuff – Ashkan Dejagah of Fulham can flourish in a starring role. However anything other than a Nigeria win would be a major surprise in my book.

Tip: Nigeria to beat Iran @ 9/10 (Bwin)

The final game of the day sees familiar foes come together once more as Ghana and USA meet for the third tournament in a row in Natal. The West Africans have been victorious on both of the previous occasions but the Americans will be ripe for revenge, led to battle by the seasoned Germany legend Jurgen Klinsmann, who will be eager to get points on the board before meeting his compatriots later in the group stages. Goals could be the way to go here. The USA recorded pre-tournament wins over Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria but have struggled as of late on the clean sheet front, while Ghana – buoyed by thrashing South Korea pre-tournament – have a plethora of striking talent available such as Andre and Jordan Ayew, and Asamoah Gyan. The bulk of the squad which came within a crossbar of the last four at the 2010 World Cup remain, along with some fresh new talent such as Chelsea’s Christian Atsu. The USA currently have some good team spirit and Klinsmann is talking a good game in addition to helping Jozy Altidore discover his potential, and over 2.5 goals seems good punting material.

Tip: Ghana vs USA – Over 2.5 Goals @ 13/15 (Bwin)

Emelie Okeke
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