USA face a stern test on Wednesday when they take on FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 champions Germany in World Friendly action. Can they defy the soccer betting odds? Find out in this preview, complete with soccer picks.
Can USA Defy The Soccer Odds?
The Stars and Stripes produced a remarkable feat on the World Friendly stage last week when they beat the Netherlands, coming from behind to stun the Oranje no less.
How remarkable was the feat? Put it this way, with 20 minutes left on the clock and USA trailing 1-3 nobody would have bet serious money in live betting markets on the improbable win. Even when they closed the gap to one goal with just 2 minutes left, not even the bravest soccer bettor would have had the balls to put money down on the improbable win. Yet, in the wildest finish in the recent history of the beautiful game, the Stars and Stripes actually pulled off the improbable 4-3 win to sink the Dutch, marking their first-ever win over Netherlands.
Jurgen Klinsmann arrived at the Amsterdam Arena with a conspicuously watered down line up. He was without Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez, to name a few. Talk about a ballsy move. Swanning about Europe's best stadiums, taking on the best teams in the world, with a second-tier line up. That's flirting with embarrassment as it is ballsy.
Yet, Klinsmann is notorious for being a taskmaster. The challenge set, the Stars and Stripes burst out of the gates and gave as good as they got against an Oranje side that finished runners-up at the 2010 world finals and third at the 2014 world finals. Gus Hiddink wasn't messing about either, rolling out a top-tier line up that featured van Persie, Huntelaar and Memphis Depay (only the injured Arjen Robben was absent). The venerable coach was taking the Americans seriously even though it was just an exhibition match.
In the 33rd minute, the game was level 1-1 and things looked promising for the Stars and Stripes against the hosts when the first-half ended on the deadlock. All hell broke loose in the second half though, as the adventurous Oranje breached the American defence twice in the space of five minutes and tucked two past Bradley Guzan.
Up 3-1 in the 53rd minute so, Gus Hiddink's side were in cruise control. Instead of continuing the onslaught, however, they switched gears altogether. Seemingly content to sit back and wind down the clock, they did not so much as lift a finger. A strategy that stinks of preconceived notions about the quality of the Americans in the game that leads to them being underrated and, dare we say it, a smug sense of superiority.
Well, they dearly paid for it. In the 70th minute, the Stars and Stripes were justifiably rewarded for their stoic effort with a breakaway goal by John Brooks. Still, they were 2-3 down. In the 88th minute, Danny Williams scored his first international goal that saw the Americans draw level and with the Dutch heads still reeling, Bobby Wood tucked the winner barely a minute later to leave the Dutch gobsmacked.
On to Germany. Jurgen Klinsmann's native land, a reunion with his former assistant coach Joachim Low, with whom together they built up the German national team, not to mention a tough test against said team that is also the reigning World Champion. Predictably, the soccer odds are cornered in Die Mannschafts camp at -250 to win outright.
Last year, at the world finals in Brazil, this pair met in the group stage in a high stakes showdown to advance into the R16. Germany underscored their favourable soccer odds of -150 to win outright when they won the game 1-0, but Jurgen Klinsmann's side (matched at +900 to pull off the upset) was the one that was lauded for the grit and stamina they showed against the best team in the world.
In any event, the USA deservedly reached the R16 in Brazil, thanks to a 2-1 win over Ghana and a 2-2 draw over Portugal. There they put in another heroic account against Belgium, but lost 2-1 in the end.
It goes without saying, Jurgen Klinsmann and his boys would love to get their revenge on Germany in this exhibition game. It would be just vindication, not to mention stellar preparation for their CONCACAF title defence campaign which begins next month. Yet, the soccer odds are stacked against the USA once again on the soccer odds board. Not as bad as previously; they are matched at +600 to win outright while the draw is trading at +400. Germany, however, are heavily favoured at -250 soccer odds. More so than they were when the pair met in group action in Brazil, before they were World Champions.
To be fair, as lopsided as this soccer betting market is, it's somewhat appropriate. USA may be buoyed by their win over the Dutch and they might even fancy their chances in Cologne on June 10th, but exactly because of their heroism Joachim Low isn't going to make the same mistake and underestimate them. Expect Germany to be well prepared for the Stars and Stripes and deliver for your soccer picks as the solid favourites at -250 to win outright.
Soccer Picks: Germany -250; Over 2.5 at -211; Germany -1 (+120) handicap result at bet365