By Patrick Callaghan of Sporting Index
Neighbours France and Germany do battle in a few hours’ time in the first of the World Cup quarter-finals. Both countries started the tournament in strong fashion, Germany dismantling Portugal 4-0 and France hitting eight goals in their first two games, but the pair haven’t had things go all their own way since.
The Germans were given a real fright by Ghana in their second game before squeezing past the USA 1-0 and then needing extra-time to see off the plucky Algerians. France were held to a 0-0 draw by Ecuador in their last group game and then had to work really hard to see beat a spirited Nigeria with two late goals.
This is the first time the teams have met in an international tournament since 1986 and it’s Germany who have had the upper hand at this level, winning two previous semi-finals against Les Bleus, one on penalties. France won the other, a third-round play-off back in 1958.
Despite a whopping 18 goals in those three ties (extra-time included), this has all the hallmarks of a low-scoring affair. Sports spread bettors can buy the time of the first goal at 42 and that may be worth a small punt as both teams will look to keep it tight early on and the 0-0 scoreline at the break looks most likely.
Traders have pitched total goals at just 2.35-2.55, reflecting how tight this game is expected to be. Selling at 2.35, you’d need three to find the net to make a loss.
At 9pm, Brazil take on Colombia and it’s the glamour tie of the last eight. The hosts are now joint-favourites on the Outright 100 Index with Netherlands, trading at 57-60, but face a serious examination against a Colombian side that have taken the tournament by storm.
Golden Boot leader James Rodriguez has helped his team win all four of their games so far, three by a margin of at least two goals. The pace and guile of their attack should cause a dodgy Brazil defence real problems.
Colombia are smart at the back too and, although Brazil’s golden boy Neymar has been passed fit, he was kept pretty quiet by Chile in that pulsating second round tie. Fred and Hulk are a pale imitation of former stars like Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo in an attacking role.
Selling Brazil supremacy at 0.55 is recommended. On home soil, they might find a way to progress but even a draw at full-time would mean a profit.
Tomorrow’s action is headed by Argentina and Belgium, two nations who, despite progressing this far, have been disappointing. So much was made of the strength of the Argentinean attack but they have been overly-reliant on splashes of Lionel Messi brilliance. Although the forward has hit four goals, he has had some very quiet games.
Belgium were the clichéd ‘dark horses’ of the competition, but have yet to score earlier than the 70th minute and have worn opponents down rather than beat them through brilliance.
This is sure to be another low-scoring affair and selling total goal minutes (a prediction on the total minutes of each goal scored in this match) at 118 is suggested. One late goal may prove decisive but this one is set to go the distance. The 0-0 scoreline is entirely feasible.
Netherlands should beat surprise package Costa Rica, but the latter’s discipline means a rout is very unlikely. The Dutch haven’t had things go all their own way since destroying Spain in their opening match here, and perhaps a small buy of the Netherlands to score one and win at 16 in the Correct Score Double Result market is the bet. 25 are points awarded if the half-time score is 1-0 and 50 points if the full-time score is 1-0 (max make-up 75).
Remember, with sports spread betting, losses may exceed your initial deposit or credit limit.