Germany v Portugal – Ronny To Rule The Roost
Germany v Portugal
Monday’s Group G game between the number 2 and 3 ranked teams in the FIFA rankings promises to be a cracker, especially if Ronny is fit!
Germany were typically ruthless in qualifying for the World Cup with nine wins and one draw from their 10 UEFA Group C fixtures. Or at least on paper they were. Although they breezed through games against Kazakhstan, Austria, Faroe Islands and Republic of Ireland, Sweden caused some considerable problems for the Germans.
Joachim Löw’s men were 4-0 up in their home game against the Swedes before capitulating in the final 30 minutes to draw 4-4, then in Stockholm at the end of the campaign they trailed 2-1 at half time before eventually emerging as 5-3 winners.
World Cup warm-up matches haven’t gone 100% to plan either; although they comfortably dispatched Armenia 6-1 in their most recent fixture, there was a slightly disconcerting 2-2 draw with Cameroon a few days previously.
Portugal, on the other hand, needed a two-legged play-off and an imperious display from Cristiano Ronaldo to beat Sweden and book their place at Brazil 2014. As has become customary for this Portugal team, they somewhat stuttered through the groups and finished one point behind winner Russia following lackadaisical draws against Israel (twice) and Northern Ireland.
Preparations for Brazil 2014 began with an uninspiring goalless draw with Greece, but were followed by wins against Mexico (1-0) and Republic of Ireland (5-1).
The Germans were dealt a severe blow when playmaker Marco Reus was ruled out of the World Cup following an ankle ligament injury picked up in their final warm-up match. On the plus side, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has recovered sufficiently from a shoulder injury and will start this game having missed the warm-up matches.
Portugal have major concerns of their own after Cristiano Ronaldo limped out of training on Thursday with an ice-pack on his knee. The Real Madrid forward only played a bit part in the conclusion of the domestic season then sat out Portugal’s firs two pre-tournament friendlies before returning to play 65 minutes of the game against Ireland. The player has since commented that his knee is “fine”, but concerns remain.
The most recent meeting between the teams came in their opening match of Euro 2012, with Germany emerging as 1-0 winners thanks to a Mario Gomez goal. Both teams would go on to qualify for the knockout stages before each being knocked out in the semi-finals. Germany have in fact won the last three meetings, all of which have come at major tournaments.
Germany are made the strong favourites here at odds of 11/10, but the 3/1 available on Portugal is extremely disrespectful to a side that are capable of anything if star player Ronaldo performs to the best of his abilities. Of course there are concerns about his fitness, so wait until the starting line-ups are confirmed before getting involved. If you want to take a more cautious approach then 6/4 is available on Paulo Bento’s men in the Draw No Bet market.