A thrilling last-second win yesterday in the Switzerland-Ecuador match has bumped us to 3-1 thus far with our 2014 World Cup selections. It’s been an exciting tournament thus far, with overs and offensive play reigning supreme over conservative tactics. Today, one of the sport’s true powerhouses takes on one of the best players in the world, as the battle-tested Germans face off against Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Germany had some questionable results in the friendlies that led into Brazil 2014, but you can only put so much stock into those. This remains a complete squad from top to bottom, and there should be no questions about how good they can be. While they’ve had their fair share of injuries and fitness concerns, head coach Joachim Low’s squad is as deep as they come. Expect another deep run from the Germans.
Portugal meanwhile will only go as far as Cristiano Ronaldo takes them. The Portuguese playmaker is one of the most talented forwards in the world, but has been dealing with a lingering injury in the lead-up to Monday’s fixture. It remains to be seen if he’ll have his full range of tricks and ability in store for the Germans. On Thursday, he was spotted leaving training early with an ice pack on his knee, but coaches and teammates have vowed Ronaldo will be fully fit for the Germans.
Germany vs. Portugal Betting Odds:
Germany (+100) / Draw (+260) / Portugal (+270)
Over 2.5 (-140) / Under 2.5 (+120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Germany vs. Portugal Pick:
While many pundits have worried about the form of the German squad heading into this match, the Germans are an experienced enough group to flip the switch when need be, and expect them to just that against Portugal. Despite injuries and fitness concerns to many key players, Germany still possesses the talent to prevail in Brazil. Monday’s showdown against Portugal represents a stern opening test for Joachim Low’s squad, and after seeing what Spain experienced via the Netherlands, don’t expect Germany to take their formidable opponents lightly.
The problem with the Portuguese is they are too overly reliant on Ronaldo. While this squad still has other key players that can hurt the opposition, too often the ball is always run through Ronaldo. Germany has good enough defenders to shut him down if need be, and the fact that doubts still remain over his true health does not seem very promising.
While the Portuguese possess a solid central midfield – now led by the 22-year old William Carvalho, it will receive a huge test from the Germans. Germany’s teams are predicated on being strong in the middle, and the duo of Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger will be immense on Monday. That duo will be able to win their battles in the centre of the pitch, distributing the ball quickly to a dangerous attacking quartet led by Mario Gotze up top.
Ultimately, there is just too much talent in this German side to not see them getting by Portugal. They have an astonishing amount of creativity and playmaking ability, and can outscore any of their apparent deficiencies – which are few. While the Portuguese should also get through in this group, they’ll likely begin the tournament with a tough defeat. The health of Ronaldo and their over-reliance on him will be their downfall in today’s intriguing fixture. Side with the Germans at even money.
PICK = Germany (+100)