2014 World Cup Betting: Australia vs. Spain Picks & Odds

Nila Amerova

Friday, June 20, 2014 2:59 PM GMT

Friday, Jun. 20, 2014 2:59 PM GMT

Spain and Australia have both been ousted from the finals after back-to-back defeats, rendering their clash in the last round of Group B action just a mere formality, as well a matter of pride. It remains to be seen, however, which side will go down swinging.


Spain: Que lástima!
Spain are set to wrap up one of their most disappointing tournaments in recent memory, not to mention one of the worst World Cup defence campaigns in the history of the event. To say that such a predicament wasn’t expected by odds makers or pundits alike is the understatement of this World Cup. Spain were one of the top favourites to win it all, trading anywhere between +500 to +700 across sportsbook platforms. No nation has successfully defended the title since 1962 when Brazil pulled off the double, but many were of the opinion that Spain – on account of their six-year domination on the world’s stage – could be the first to pull off the feat this side of the Century in Brazil. Alas, that notion was rendered nothing but a pipedream as Spain crashed out of the finals on an almighty thud that sent seismic shockwaves through World Cup betting markets.

Spain is now faced with a dud match against Australia. Only pride is on the line here, all the good that would do. Spain boast one of the worst goal differentials of the tournament at -6 and they are mired at the bottom of Group B. Would a win over Australia really alleviate the humiliation they suffered at the hands of Holland and Chile or, even, appease their legions of disappointed fans the world over? Probably not. But it would speak to character, of which, frankly, we’ve seen very little from La Furia Roja in this competition. Xabi Alonso succinctly put it, “No conviction, no ambition, no hunger.”

The orthodox football fan can’t fathom Spain finishing their highly anticipated title defence campaign without striking an audible chord. They must show they care, goes the thinking. But isn’t that just misguided optimism? To brandish a cliché: Too little too late?

Besides, how can they really muster up the effort when they’ve looked so listless and disinterested throughout? How can Del Bosque solve the issues on the pitch so quickly when he failed to do so against Chile? When he clearly underestimated Holland? To put it simply, they’ve looked clueless, out of sorts, disorganised and self-indulgent. Top to bottom, they struggled.

Diego Costa? Let’s not even go there – the amount of quality shots he spurned, completely off target, says all. (Somebody make the net bigger for him for crying out loud!). Fernando Torres? Barely played at all. When he did, he barely struck an audible chord. Iker Casillas? Images of the keeper sunk to his knees circulating the internet speak louder than words. But if you need some, here’s two – probably, what he was thinking each time the Dutch tucked a ball past him into the net – “Mais Uma?” which is Portuguese for “One more?” Invisible defence?...you get the gist...


Australia, the people’s champion?
Australia won’t be winning anything at these finals, save for the hearts of loyal World Cup followers. They deposited a solid account against both Chile and Holland, the latter of which, however, was quite exceptional, if not impressive. Considering the Dutch were flush off a 5-1 demolition over Spain, the Soccerroos didn’t seem all that fussed or worried. They actually showed up not only to play footsy, but also to actually try and win the match. The cheek. And they very nearly did too, as it were.

In an entertaining back-and-forth match, Arjen Robben scored the first goal of the match, but scarcely a minute after the Dutchman peeled his face off the TV camera on the sidelines, Cahill took a perfectly curving pass out of the air and struck it home to draw the match level. Australia then went up 2-1 in the second half, courtesy of a penalty kick. With the lead barely four minutes old, however, Van Persie drew the Dutch level and, then, ten minutes later, Memphis caught the Australian keeper dozing between the goal posts when he blasted a long-range shot past him into the net. That lone moment of inattention was Matt Ryan’s only gaffe between the posts in an otherwise solid performance. Unfortunately, it was the most costly as it turned out to be the winning goal.


World Cup Betting Verdict
Spain are deemed the -250 favourites to win outright while Australia are the +750 underdogs to win outright. Naturally, common wisdom suggests Spain should win. They could finally muster up some interest in the proceedings. Iker Casillas might finally get to sit down, paving the way for Reina. Del Bosque could field a complete different starting XI, which would give Spain more punch. Spain have been humiliated at these finals but they aren’t a bad team, which makes them a good World Cup pick even now.

On the merit of the respective accounts of both sides, though, you must agree Australia deserve the win more. They’ve shown heart and guts against some of the best teams in the finals that one imagines they would do the same against a hobbled Spain. As such, Australia does seem to us the tempting bet at +750  to heap more misery on a miserable Spain. Of course, the happy-ending for all involved would be a draw at +425. Could it be that this is the optimum World Cup pick in this matchup?


Recommended World Cup Picks: This really could go any which way, so unless you have loyalty to either teams, as a neutral cover all angles by dabbling in both: Spain to win outright at -250 and Australia or Draw at +200. Over 2.5 at -188. Although, Australia at +750 does seem too good to skip, don’t you think?  

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