1. #1
    bigboydan
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    USA-Ghana preview

    Thursday will be an exciting day for American soccer fans and offshore bookies, alike.

    "I heard a Swiss businessman made the world's largest ever World Cup bet on Italy last weekend. He bet $400,000 and lost to one of our competitors," says Bob Day, General Manager of gambling.net.

    We were not so lucky. Ninety-five percent of our business comes from American players. For some reason they knew that USA was not good enough to beat Italy outright so they hedged their bets with a draw. Go figure."



    While the World Cup doesn't quite capture the imagination of the nation in the same way the Super Bowl or the World Series might, its popularity is growing.

    The game takes place at 10:00 EDT on Thursday at the beautiful Frankenstadion in Nuremberg, Germany. The stadium first opened in 1928 and recently got a $58 million (Euro) face-lift to get it World Cup-ready.

    Team USA was highly ranked by FIFA in world rankings going into the tournament. Unfortunately they were put into Group E, leaving them in a serious bind. Group E opponents Italy, Ghana and the Czech Republic all have a solid soccer heritage.

    In their first game against the Czechs, team USA lost a disappointing 3-0 decision. Most soccer experts had them pegged as "doormats" against the feisty Italians. In one of the most physical matches played so far, Team USA managed a 1-1 tie with the soccer powerhouse. They even had a goal taken away from them in the second half due to an offside call. Earning this difficult point against Italy has left the American Team with some hope as they head into their final match.

    As Team USA squares off against Ghana, the Czech Republic plays Italy. If the Americans can win their match against Ghana and the Italians can beat the Czech Republic, the Americans advance to the next round with four points. (Team America will have accumulated three points for their victory against Ghana and one point for their tie against Italy.)

    This would leave both Ghana and the Czechs with three points apiece. If Italy ties the Czech Republic on Thursday, team USA needs it to be a scoreless draw. They would also need to beat Ghana by a large margin to win the goal differential tiebreaker.

    In Day's words: "The most realistic scenario for USA advancing to the next round is an American victory combined with a Czech loss. In my opinion, it doesn't look like they will follow up their run to the elite eight in the 2002 World Cup. We know they have a ton of heart but their lack of world-class talent may only lead to heartbreak."

    Odds posted for the Thursday's key matchups

    Czech Republic +271
    DRAW +205
    Italy +200

    Ghana +239
    DRAW +233
    USA +220

  2. #2
    moses millsap
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    I've got a major itch to take Ghana.

  3. #3
    bigboydan
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    i can't say i blame you bud.

  4. #4
    Illusion
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    Quote Originally Posted by OWNED
    I've got a major itch to take Ghana.
    Both teams have players missing due to yellow cards, but Ghana's missing players will hurt them more.

  5. #5
    onlooker
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    USA USA USA.

    Did I hear right that the USA has to win by 4 goals to advance to the next round? That is a large task for them to complete if its true.

  6. #6
    Illusion
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    Quote Originally Posted by onlker
    USA USA USA.

    Did I hear right that the USA has to win by 4 goals to advance to the next round? That is a large task for them to complete if its true.
    That's only if the Czech republic wins. If the USA wins and Italy wins then they advance without having to worry about goal differential.

  7. #7
    onlooker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illusion
    That's only if the Czech republic wins. If the USA wins and Italy wins then they advance without having to worry about goal differential.
    Thanks for clearing that up.

    I must of missed that part of it, because I only heard about the 4 goal part.

  8. #8
    Dark Horse
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    Key to this group is Czech Republic.

    - Czechs coming off a humiliation. Earlier, USA (off 0-3 loss) and Ghana (off 0-2 loss) bounced back well in this group.

    - Czech will only play to win IF Ghana takes lead. I don't give too much importance to the 'avoid Brazil' motivation. First is to qualify. Czechs qualify with a tie, unless Ghana is winning against US.

    - If Ghana takes lead against US, this opens up the game between Italy and Czechs, because now only one of them qualifies. As long as the USA is winning or tied, there is no reason for either Italy or Czechs to fight it out. They'll settle for the tie (unless US is winning by four or five; not likely for a team that has scored once -own goal at at that- on European soil).

    - The harsh truth is that the USA already is all but eliminated. The scenario that would put them through is this: Ghana takes lead. Now Czechs start playing for real. They beat Italy. Meanwhile, USA makes comeback, and is able to overcome the -5 goal differential with Italy. Unfortunately, Italy will not allow this. They're masters of the tie.

    To make a long story short, I'll play a tie for Italy-Czech Rep.
    Last edited by Dark Horse; 06-22-06 at 08:52 AM.

  9. #9
    Dark Horse
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    Latest news. Apparently, Italian striker Luca Toni starts on the bench.

  10. #10
    adriano
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    I think Italy will win, and Ghana and USA end in a tie.

  11. #11
    natrass
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    USA go through if they beat ghana and Italy (as expected) beat the Czechs.

    USA, Ghana, Czechs all need to play for a win. italy just need a draw.

  12. #12
    moses millsap
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    I think at some point over the last 8 hours, I've wanted to take every single side in both early games, so I'm just going to watch and cheer for my country for once.

    Go Ghana!!! (j/k) Have no faith in the USA, but hope they can get through.

  13. #13
    Dark Horse
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    lol

  14. #14
    adriano
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    Anyone watching Ghana/USA, can the yanks level?

    Why have they given away a penalty 2 mins after equalising, in the last minute of 1st half on top of that?

  15. #15
    moses millsap
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    Quote Originally Posted by adriano
    Anyone watching Ghana/USA, can the yanks level?

    Why have they given away a penalty 2 mins after equalising, in the last minute of 1st half on top of that?
    Didn't look like a penalty at all to me. Ridiculous, but the American's fault for not clearing that ball.

  16. #16
    Baphomet
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    Ghana will pass together with Italy.
    Don't believe in miracles...

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