2014 World Cup Group G Picks and Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/20/2014
This group is widely referred to as the Group of Death. While I think Group D has something to say about that, this nonetheless has the potential to be a tightly-fought battle. If things play out to form, though, the battle will be for the second qualifying spot. Germany is very talented and in strong form, and they have a long history of success in the World Cup, so they should be ready for the challenge here.
There is no shortage of storylines here. Ghana has knocked the Americans out of the last two World Cups, and Germany knocked them out in 2002. Germany and Ghana were in the same group in 2010, with Germany winning their meeting 1-0. Germany and Portugal were in the same group at Euro 2012, with Germany again winning 1-0 head-to-head.
2014 World Cup Group G Picks at a Glance:
Best team: Germany. This one is a no-brainer. They are the second-ranked team in the world. They cruised through qualifying, with a draw against Sweden the only blemish on their record. They have finished no worse than third in the last three World Cups, and they have been at least quarterfinalists each of the last eight editions of the biggest tournament on earth.
Worst team: United States. The largest majority of you who will be reading this are Americans, so I won’t be making any friends with this pick. I was underwhelmed by their qualifying push, though, and I just don’t trust them mentally in this tough group. If you preferred Ghana here, though, I wouldn’t have a big argument.
Best game: U.S. vs. Germany. Portugal vs. Germany was a close second, but this one gets the nod because it’s a rematch of the only loss Germany has suffered in a long time — a 4-3 American win in a friendly in Washington, D.C. last June. Germany has an obvious edge and will be fielding a much better roster than they did back then, but American coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a German legend in his playing days, will be highly motivated to pull off a miracle.
Predicted order of finish: Germany should be able to win the group thanks to their depth and talent advantage. Portugal is second-best and should be the second team to advance. I give Ghana a slight edge over the Americans.
Team-by-team Breakdown (odds to win Group G and tournament from Sportsbook.ag)
Germany (-175 to win the group, +500 to win the tournament): The only thing I don’t like about this team is that I am pretty sure that they aren’t quite as good as Brazil or Argentina, and they would possibly have to go through both to win it all if things turn out as expected. Beyond that, though, they are very strong. They have good depth across the board, though injuries up front have been an issue at times. They are well-coached, very experienced as a team, consistent in big tournaments, in strong form — the list goes on and on. This is a strong team ready to perform at a high level.
Ghana (+1000, +24000): How far can an exceptional midfield carry a team? That’s what we will learn with this team. They have a decent group of strikers, a very questionable backfield, and up-and-down goaltending. It’s the midfield that is by far the strength, though, and they will live or die by how that unit performs. This isn’t the team it was four years ago, but they have a recent history of rising to the occasion in this tournament, so they could make things interesting.
Portugal (+270, +3000): Portugal made it tough on themselves just getting here, needing two late goals in the second half of a home-and-home playoff against Sweden to qualify. It’s not the first time they have struggled to make a big tournament, though. It’s like they need to have a scare to get their blood pumping. They have a deep and talented team led by one of the best players on the planet — it’s not hard to like this team.
United States (+900, +16000): My biggest issue with this team is how they qualified. I have very little respect for CONCACAF right now — the depth is lacking, and Mexico was a disaster. If the Americans were ready to be a major contender here then they should have absolutely cruised through the qualification process. They made it look much harder than they should have, though. I just don’t trust them to be able to take a big step forward from that performance.
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