World Cup Pick: United States vs Germany

Even though United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann says his team will play for the win in Thursday’s World Cup match against Germany, both teams would more than happy if the match ends up a draw, which would send the two squads to the knockout stage. A draw will have Germany as the group champion and the US would finish as the No. 2 team.

Klinsmann and German coach Joachim Löw are good friends, and Löw was Klinsmann’s assistant manager at the 2006 World Cup, when Klinsmann was head coach for his native German team.

The two teams play a similar game, which is to be expected considering the two head coaches have worked together in the past, and the USA roster boasts five players of German descent, helping establish another link between the two countries.

The Germans are solid favorites in the match, as Bovada has them -140 on the three-way line, with the United States+650 and a draw at +190. On the two-way line Germany is -.5 (-135) and the USA is +.5 (+115). The total on the match is 2.5-under (-125), which is a bit surprising considering Germany has seen four goals in both of its matches, while the USA has had seven goals in its two matches.

The USA had to focus on Cristiano Ronaldo in their match against Portugal and now will deal with another tough customer in Germany’s Thomas Müller, who scored three goals in the team’s opening game and had the match-tying assist in Germany’s draw with Ghana before being injured, but will be ready to go on Thursday.

Miroslav Klose may be getting up there in age, but the man tied for the most goals in World Cup play still has what it takes and scored the equalizer against Ghana. His next goal will move him past Spain’s Ronaldo (not Portugal’s Ronaldo) as the all-time leading goal-scorer in World Cup history.

Germany is ranked No. 2 in the world by the FIFA, but top-ranked Spain has already been eliminated from the knockout round, so pre-tournament rankings don’t mean a whole lot.

The United States will again be without Jozy Altidore, but Graham Zusi played well in his place against Portugal. Clint Dempsey’s health was thought to be a concern before the match against Portugal, but he played well, scoring the second goal of the match for the Americans and has scored in both matches this tournament.

The biggest key for the United States will be goalkeeper Tim Howard, who came up with some big saves against Portugal and was essentially helpless on the tying goal. He has four saves in each of the first two matches, including several acrobatic saves against Portugal that put the USA in position to earn the draw.

The United States may have the better athletes of the two teams, but Germany has a size advantage and will look to exploit that, although how well they are able to do so may depend on how tightly the march is called. If the officials let the two teams play, that will favor the Germans, while a closely-called match will favor the United States.

One thing that works to the Americans’ favor is that Germany has absolutely no incentive to win the match. A draw will give them the Group G championship and a first-round knockout stage match against Russia or Algeria, while the No. 2 team from the group will draw a tougher opponent in Belgium.

The Portugal vs. Ghana match will be played at the same time and both teams may be guilty of a little scoreboard watching. If one team in that match takes a 2-0 lead it could alter the way Germany or the USA play. If Ghana jumps out in front, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the USA start to play very defensive, especially if the score is tied, since the Americans can’t afford a two-goal loss.

The best bet in this match is likely the under 2.5, although you may want to wait closer to the start of the match before wagering, as the public has been playing the overs and the price is likely to drop.

 

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