The final round of matches is upon us and with it comes a feeling that after today the serious stuff will start. It’s been an excellent tournament so far with goals aplenty, but after today things will become more tense and teams will not be playing with the freedom of the group stages. The question is who will be the last four teams to reach the last sixteen?
Today Portugal meet Ghana in what is pretty much a meaningless game given that USA and Germany only need to draw for them both to qualify. Portugal or Ghana would need to win by a huge margin while hoping that Germany heavily beat USA. Over in Group H, Belgium have already qualified so that leaves Russia and Algeria to fight it out for second place.
Portugal v Ghana
I had previously thought that Ghana would be a good bet to beat Portugal, but it appears there is serious disharmony within the Ghana squad and I expect they will be happy just for the tournament to finish. Portugal at 17/20 with Paddy Power and William Hill is far too prohibitive a price to be worth a bet so I will focus on goals markets. Cristiano Ronaldo has had a very disappointing tournament and he will be eager to go out on a high. He is 7/2 with Ladbrokes, Bet Victor and Stan James or 11/4 with Bovada to score the first goal. He is also a very tasty 5/1 with William Hill or 7/2 with Bovada to score 2 or more goals.
Top Bet: Cristiano Ronaldo to score two or more goals at 5/1 (William Hill) or 7/2 (Bovada).
USA v Germany
Many people are predicting that USA and Germany will carve this one up and play for the draw that will guarantee both of them qualification. I think that Germany will want to win this one though. They will be eager to get back to winning ways following their draw with Ghana. Germany half time/full time is 17/10 with Coral or 7/5 with Bovada. I expect to see Miroslav Klose being given a start as he looks to break the goalscoring record at World Cups. He 5/1 with Bet365, Bet Victor and William Hill or 4/1 with Bovada.
Top Bet: Klose to score first at 5/1 (Bet365) or 4/1 (Bovada).
Algeria v Russia
It’s winner takes all in this tie. A victory for Russia will see them progress while a draw or win for Algeria will see them take a place in the last 16. Algeria put in a good performance against South Korea to secure a vital win, while Russia have stumbled through their first two games. Russia have struggles to find the net whereas Algeria have scored the most goals in the group. I fancy Algeria to get the win that will see them through. They are 3/1 with BoyleSports and 888.Sport or 11/5 with Bovada. Algeria are an even more tempting 11/2 with Totesport, Paddy Power and Coral to win without Russia scoring a goal. The same bet is 5/1 with Bovada.
Top Bet: Algeria to win at 3/1 (888.Sports) or 11/5 (Bovada).
South Korea v Belgium
This game is something of a dead rubber. South Korea would need Russia to beat Algeria 1-0 and they themselves would need to beat Belgium by 3 clear goals to qualify. The odds are against them. Belgium have been slow starters in their games so far whereas Korea have started their matches at a high tempo. South Korea half time/draw full time is a very appealing 17/1 with Bet Victor or 16/1 with Bovada. I would fancy this to be a low scoring affair. Under 2.5 goals is 21/20 with Bet365. More appealing is a correct score of 1-1 which is 7/1 with Bet Victor and Coral or 6/1 with Bovada.
Top Bet: Correct Score of 1-1 at 7/1 (Coral) or 6/1 (Bovada).