USA v Portugal – Dempsey & Co. To Down PortugueseStats
USA v Portugal
The USA can take advantage of a Portuguese side beset by injuries and low on confidence in a game that could decide the two qualifiers from Group G.
USA kicked of their World Cup in blistering fashion as Clint Dempsey scored against Ghana inside one minute of their opening game. The former Fulham forward put himself into the record books with the fifth-fastest goal – 29 seconds – in World Cup history.
Ghana gradually took control of the game and it looked as though their pressure would earn them a point when Andre Ayew equalised with just eight minutes to go. But Jurgen Klinsmann’s men weren’t quite finished and claimed victory courtesy of a John Brooks header with just four minutes remaining.
Ayew’s goal means that the USA have kept just two clean sheets in their last 24 World Cup games, but they have however scored in their last seven successive matches at the finals.
Portugal find themselves up against it after suffering their heaviest ever World Cup defeat when going down 4-0 to Germany on Monday. It was also the first time that they have conceded four goals in a game at the finals and means that they have won just one (7-0 against North Korea) of their last eight World Cup matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo still has just two World Cup goals after he failed to make any sort of impact on the game. While Pepe’s red card on 37 minutes and the subsequent 53 minutes that the Portuguese spent chasing German shadows is sure to have an impact on their levels of fatigue.
Jozy Altidore is still awaiting the results of an MRI scan, but it looks as though the Sunderland striker’s World Cup is over after pulling up with a hamstring strain on 23 minutes of the game against Ghana. Matt Besler is expected to be fit, however, despite also being substituted at half-time in the game with a hamstring injury.
Pepe is suspended while Hugo Almeida and Fábio Coentrão are set to miss the remainder of the group stages at least due to injury. But the biggest setback to Paulo Bento’s plans could be the fitness of star player Cristiano Ronaldo who again limped out of training during the week with his knee heavily strapped. Some reports suggest that the team doctor has told him he could risk his career by continuing to play through the pain barrier.
Head-to-head results are balanced evenly with two wins and one draw apiece. The most recent and most significant meeting came in the 2002 World Cup – where Paulo Bento was a second-half substitute – which USA won 3-2 having taken a 3-0 lead inside 36 minutes.
Given the significant injury/suspension problems hampering this Portuguese side, and the fact that confidence must be at a real low after the Germany game, we simply have to take them on at odds of 4/5 in the Match Odds market.
USA look an outstanding bet at odds of 4/1, with the Draw No Bet option at odds of 2/1 offering some insurance.