We’ve been here before. Two teams heading into the last game of a group campaign where a draw will send the pair through regardless of the result in the other game. The conspiracy theories haven’t just begun, they’ve been well underway and the draw is now just shy of 2/1, having been 7-2 before the tournament with the Germans no bigger than 2-5.
History has come into things again, with many remembering West Germany’s 1-0 win against Austria helping them through to the knockout stages at the expense of Algeria, along with similar incidents like the 2-2 between Denmark and Sweden where a late goal by Mattias Johnson left constancy theorists boasting as the Azzuri made a swift exit.
There is also the slight coincidence that Klinsmann and Low, both Germans, share as close a connection as any managers could in this situation. Jogi Low had been Kilinsmann’s right hand man for 2 whole years before taking over the reigns of Die Nationalmannschaft.
One can see why it’s easy to believe the conspiracy theories. But at the same time, there are just as many reasons to believe this game will be played full pelt. Germany are unlikely to be knocked out in any situation today. The turnaround on goal difference, should they lose to the USA, would have to be massive given their 4 goal win against Portugal and there’s a good reason to believe (see later Portugal – Ghana preview) that neither team is in the best shape for that to occur.
Expectation for the Germans isn’t at it’s usual high point coming into the tournament but they would have fallen well below their self expectations when being held by Ghana and complacency would be the last thing on their mind.
This however, looks set to be the biggest game in the US team’s history. 24.7 million people watched in the US. To put that into perspective? ESPN’s most-viewed program excluding NFL and college football telecasts ever, topping every game of the NBA Finals, including the clincher the previous Sunday (18.2M to 18.0M). A bigger overnight TV rating than Game 3 of the World Series. Heck, even Ann Coulter can’t resist a bite. Small steps.
So given that, and the huge following of US fans in Brazil – 200,000 tickets bought alone in the country – I don’t see the US easing off.
So, how to bet? 4/5 is a tempting price about Germany in this situation. In midfield, Ozil and Gotze have been in fine form and provided a constant threat that has gone some way to making up for Marco Reus’s absence and Thomas Muller is chasing his second golden boot. Their movement is likely to torment a USA defence that looked open against Ghana – when the final ball let the Blacks Stars down – and they should feel confident of being able to get on the scoresheet.
However, Germany look just as shaky. Portugal had been getting at them before they collapsed and out wide Ghana dominated them for 2-0 minutes before Klose bought proceedings level – it’s worth remembering they were 3 on 2 to win the game. If both these sides ago at eachother then goals look likely and are regular in German games – there’s been 19 in the last 4 – and the USA have seen both games so far in Brazil. The rain has been hammering it down in Recife, so be wise with stakes, but if the ball moves OK then 2.5 goals looks a bet.
2.5 pts Over 2.5 goals (10/11 general)