France and Germany set for stalemate at the Maracana

 
Bill Esdaile
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BEN CLEMINSON PREVIEWS TODAY’S WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINALS AND BILL ESDAILE WITH SATURDAY’S BEST RACING BETS

WE’VE enjoyed a veritable feast of football excitement this summer, and many are predicting that Brazil 2014’s goal tally, currently standing at 154, will break France 1998’s record of 171. But with eight games to come, I’m not quite so sure.

Germany and France do battle in the first quarter-final this evening, reigniting a fierce rivalry between two neighbours that hasn’t been seen at an international tournament since 1986.

Even though they both started the group stages strongly, they seem to have lost momentum since.

The French laboured to beat Nigeria, requiring late goals in their eventual 2-0 win, after failing to score against Ecuador. The Germans were unimpressive in drawing with Ghana, before sneaking a 1-0 win over the USA, and then were arguably fortunate to reach extra-time against Algeria, let alone win 2-1.

The three previous match-ups at the World Cup between these two have yielded 18 goals, with the 3-3 semi-final in 1982 (won 5-4 by West Germany on penalties) considered by many to be one of the greatest ever World Cup matches.

Sadly, I can’t see a repeat performance tonight. Given both teams’ tight defences – Germany have only conceded three times and France just twice – I can see them cancelling each other out.

Selling goals at 2.3 with Sporting Index is recommended. And the 23/10 on a draw with Star Sports looks a good call.

Brazil take on Colombia in Friday’s second game and the hosts are ripe for the taking. They’ve yet to convince under the weight of expectation and were fortunate to sneak past Chile in the last round, the woodwork saving them from an early exit.

Colombia, on the other hand, have looked extremely impressive. They’ve dispatched each opponent they’ve faced without ever looking unduly troubled and Jose Pekerman’s side look the one in the tournament best equipped to end the hopes of the favourites.

The absence of Radamel Falcao has seen his Monaco teammate James Rodriguez step into the spotlight. He has set the tournament alight, bagging five goals and leads the scoring chart for the Golden Boot.

The 22-year-old heads an attack full of pace and guile and, up against a dodgy defence, he can cause serious danger for Brazil.

Selling Brazil’s supremacy at 0.6 with Sporting Index is advised and the Colombia draw no bet at 5/2 with Star Sports looks an excellent punt.

Pointers…
Draw at 23/10 with Star Sports (France v Germany)
Sell total goals at 2.3 with Sporting Index (France v Germany)
Sell Brazil supremacy at 0.6 with Sporting Index
Colombia draw no bet at 5/2 with Star Sports