at the World Cup
After Brazil, Germany has made the second most appearances at the global showpiece. FIFA 2014 World Cup will be Germany’s 18th appearance. They only World Cup they missed was the 1950 finals in England (they didn’t enter the competition). Germany have reached seven finals and won three titles to their credit, their last victory coming at the expense of Argentina in 1990 Italy.
Die Nationalmannschaft are enjoying a 23-game unbeaten streak ahead of the finals, a run of form that includes their qualifying campaign that ended with nine wins and a draw. In the last two finals, Germany reached the penultimate round. In 2006, they lost to eventual champions Italy 2-0 in the semis. In 2010, once again, they lost to eventual champions Spain 1-0.
Is smart money on Germany?
Germany are listed as the third favourites overall in outright win markets across sportsbook platforms, hovering on +550 odds or thereabouts. They are behind top favourites Brazil (+275) and Argentina (+450) but ahead of titleholders Spain at +650.
Given Die Nationalmannschaft’s pedigree and tradition of success in this competition and their position amongst the Top 4 favourites, one has to concede that on paper smart money could very well be on Germany. Only a lot of attention is being placed on their ‘group of death’ draw that includes Portugal, USA and Ghana, and through which it could be tricky to negotiate.
Group of Death Masters
Germany have advanced through to the knockouts at their last 15 World Cups, finishing top of their group in six in a row. This isn’t the first time they are thrust into a proverbial ‘group of death’. Time and time again, they have proven to be the quintessential escape artists, masters at surviving tough draws.
In fact, as recently as Euro 2012, Germany was in a group-of-death situation after drawing Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark. At the time, many feared for all four teams as each appeared to have a decent chance to advance. But in typical stoic, industrious and focused German fashion, Die Mannschaft swept all aside to finish top of the group with a perfect 3-0-0 record. (Portugal finished second with a 2-0-1 record.)
Hence, Germany’s favourable -200 soccer odds to win Group G, marking a firm vote of confidence by odds makers. Perhaps it’s a market stance worrywarts might consider taking a page from. More likely than not, Germany to win Group G is the smart World Cup pick in Group Betting markets.
Joachim Low announces provisional team
Joachim Low recently announced his provisional 30-man squad for the 2014 World Cup, but since his announcement some developments and changes have occurred. News coming down the wire: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen) has been forced out of the squad with a thigh injury.
While the loss of Lars Bender is disappointing, Low’s team is midfield-heavy, providing many alternative options such as Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger (all three from Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil (both Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea) and Leon Goretzka (Schalke,) to name a few
Low’s injury concerns aren’t over, which could prove deciding, if not detrimental to Germany’s chances in Brazil. Philipp Lahm (bruised ankle), Bastian Schweinsteiger (inflamed knee) and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (shoulder) present serious injuries for Germany. What’s more, Miroslav Klose – one of two forwards named on the provisional squad – has spent a lot of time on the sidelines this season and his fitness for an arduous campaign in Brazil is debatable.
That said it is 19 days to the global showpiece kicking off on June 12. And 24 days to Germany’s opening clash against Portugal on Monday June 16, which incidentally marks Germany’s 100th World Cup game – a milestone that they, and only they, as a nation can claim. Joachim Low still has lots of time to get his players ready, and those that are on the injury list potentially have adequate time to recover.
For the time being, odds makers maintain supreme confidence in Germany’s quality. Even in match-betting markets, as they have this match cornered on -110 soccer odds to win outright. Portugal are tipped large +300 and even the draw is listed at a high +240. Telling isn’t it?
Team Germany Verdict: As long as Low’s injury concerns are resolved before kickoff, Germany should enjoy an enduring campaign in Brazil, if not go all the way. They’ve knocked on the final door in the last two instalments of the World Cup but failed to march through. If they reach the semis once again... watch this space... third time lucky?