Group G Preview – Portugal The Value Bet
World Cup 2014
Portugal and Ronaldo could be the value bet to take the top spot from Germany in Group G.
Three-time winners Germany head a strong Group G alongside Portugal, USA and African powerhouses Ghana. Although Joachim Löw’s side are at their strongest for many years every team in this group is capable of taking points of each other and it could make for an exciting climax.
Germany’s qualification for Brazil 2014 could be described as stereotypically efficient with nine wins and one draw in their 10 games.
But that would be a disservice to the attacking and exciting brand of football that they play which led to an average of 3.6 goals scored per game and two particularly memorable matches – a 4-4 draw and a 5-3 win – against Sweden.
Mesut Özil top scored with eight goals in qualification, but goals come from throughout this German side with Marco Reus scoring five and Mario Götze, Thomas Müller, André Schürrle and Miroslav Klose each scoring four. Klose needs just one goal to join Ronaldo at the top of the list of all-time World Cup goalscorers with 15.
Portugal needed a dramatic two-legged play-off to book their place in the tournament as Cristiano Ronaldo scored all four goals in a 4-2 aggregate victory over Sweden.
The Real Madrid forward was in sensational form in the second leg in particular as he scored a second half hat-trick to send his country to play in the “Brother” nation.
The Portuguese are expecting to receive plenty of home support from expats and Brazilian nationals too.
The unpredictable USA were early qualifiers for the World Cup as they topped CONCACAF qualification fairly comfortably in the end. But not without some early stuttering as a defeat to Honduras and a goalless draw in Mexico halted their launch.
They’ve beaten Germany and Bosnia & Herzegovina in the past 12 months, but at other times can look completely inept. Jurgen Klinsmann talks of an ongoing project but now we need to see the fruits of his labour.
The final Group G spot is made up by Ghana who qualified by wining five of their six group games and then emphatically dispatching Egypt 7-3 in the two-legged play-off. The Black Stars have a strong and experienced side that are intent on righting the wrongs of 2010’s quarter-final defeat to Uruguay.
Group G Winners
Although Germany are understandable 8/15 favourites to top the group, I can’t help thinking that the value bet here is Portugal at odds of 11/4.
In such a strong group I wouldn’t want to be backing anyone at short odds-on prices, and both USA and Ghana aren’t out of the equation at odds of 10/1.
Group G Qualification
Again, in such a tight and competitive group, the value has to be with outsiders Ghana and USA each at odds of 5/2. Germany should progress but are not worth a bet at odds of 1/7, while Portugal are also too short in this market at odds of 4/9.