Germany squad outlook for World Cup 2014

Among the teams that deserve to win the World Cup, Germany has a place of its own because the European nation missed out on numerous opportunities. With the kind of players that they bring to Brazil, they are entitled to expect to make the final and they have no reason to fear any opponent. On a good day, the German machine can steamroll past any other squad, which explains why bookmakers are willing to credit them with the third chance to lift the trophy.

thesoccerblogBrazil is clearly a favorite and Argentina comes in second, but Germany has a better chance than Spain to win the most prestigious tournament in football, at least if we are to trust the bookies. They don’t have a particularly easy group, with the likes of Portugal trying to block their way, while Ghana and the United States count on a miracle. The European nations are favorites to finish on the first two spots, but the outcome of the opening game would change all that.

At least in theory, they would benefit from the first match ending undecided, as they will need to win at least four points in the other two games to have a good chance at surviving Group G. What actually happens is that neither Germany nor Portugal is willing to settle for the second-place and will fight it out to win the group. The idea is to avoid a potentially lethal fixture with Argentina or Brazil in the next round and it goes without saying that it is easier to defeat Ghana or the US in the group stage.

Low has most of the players who competed in the European championship two years ago fit to play, even though some veterans announced their retirement. The manager is in a fortunate position of having a relatively healthy squad, with players that are quite young yet immensely experienced. A quick glance at the offensive line will reveal the fact that midfielders and strikers younger than 25-year-old have already played hundreds of games for formidable European clubs.

Bayern Munchen is not surprisingly the team that provides most of these talented players, but there are other top clubs where German midfielders and strikers play. Opponents will feel like they are hit by a tsunami, since Germany can attack with six players if needed and still have a solid defense. Overall, they have the most balanced team among all nations competing at the World Cup, even though individually they might be slightly behind Argentina and Brazil.

Discipline and fighting spirit are not in short supply and the farther Germany goes at the World Cup 2014, the better their chances are to play their a-game. Pressure is high as always, but the Germans know how to handle it and with Joachim Low at the helm, they shouldn’t be underestimated. The odds are not great, but it is worth betting on Germany to win all the games in the group stage and stick to this plan until they lock horns with Brazil or Argentina.

Splitting points is a convenient option for Granada

Perhaps one of the least interesting matches in Primera Division this weekend will be played in Granada, where the local team welcomes Levante. They are separated by just three points in the standings and they have a safe cushion ahead of the relegation area with no chance whatsoever of playing in a European competition next season.Granada vs Levante

This safe distance from both areas of interest make this a rather dull affair and many punters are contemplating the possibility of betting on the draw. Granada is in better form and they used to know how to extract maximum value from those games played in front of their fans. It definitely helps that the visiting team hasn’t won many games recently and bowed before some of the weakest teams in the league.

Celta Vigo and Betis made short work of their defenses and got away with all six points, despite the fact that they are both in miserable shape. Levante squandered manypoints in March, but they were fortunate enough to have their contenders struggling over the stretch. There is no pressure whatsoever in winning games, especially those played on the road and that’s why coach Caparros uses a single striker.

It comes as no surprise that he prefers David Barral match after match, as this gifted forward has the most goals scored for Levante. Naturally, he will receive plenty of attention from the home team tonight and this will make it very difficult for him to send dangerous shots at the opponent’s net. By comparison, Granada will be pairing El Arabi with Riki and it is quite possible for Ighalo to join them in the second half if the hosts fail to score.

There are basically two ways of tacking this game, one being a wager on the hosts to prevail at odds of 1.90, counting on the visitors’ poor form. Both punters will prefer to place a wager on an exact score, with 0:0 and 1-1 being the most likely results. If the game heads for an inconclusive result, none of the teams will take unnecessary chances to force victory and will probably accept a mutually convenient draw

Lyon’s last chance at redemption in 2013

thesoccerIt is not too late for Lyon to salvage the season, but it is unlikely for them to secure another European championship berth. The best case scenario is to make the group stage once again in 2014 for Europa League, which makes it particularly important to extract the most from their current presence in the competition. So far things are going according to the plan and even though the French side trails Betis by two points, they have a good chance to advance and even win the group.

Three goals in four games is hardly a result that Lyon can be proud of, especially after playing for several years in the most prestigious European competition. Compared to their performance in the Champions League, this year’s display is hardly impressive and if they fail to reach the next stage, they shouldn’t expect any lenience from media, fans and management. Blaming the long list of injuries doesn’t work either, despite the fact that they are struggling to cope with many absentees.

What they should be building on is a potent offensive, with all three strikers ready to go and this is exactly the tactic that the hosts should use tonight. By fielding Gomiz, Lacazette and Briand from the very beginning, Lyon should be capable to exercise enough pressure on Betis’ defense to crack and recent results speak for themselves. The Spanish side conceded a total of eight goals in less than a week while scoring a single goal, after Barcelona and Seville unleashed a 90 min. siege.

The visitors are confident about their chances to survive the group stage and they have all the reasons to be optimistic, as they lead the group with eight points. Add to this the fact that they will face Rijeka at home in the last round, a team that is yet to win a game in Europa League and it is easy to understand why they would gladly settle for a draw in France. At the beginning of the month, they won the game against Guimaraes, a defeat that probably sealed the fate of the Portuguese side. More on this topic, can be found at http://www.thesoccer-blog.com/must-win-game-guimaraes-europa-league/.

Nobody can blame them for starting with a 5-4-1 formation after the recent humiliating defeats, but this could open a window of opportunity for Lyon. The odds for a home victory are staggering at 2.25 with top bookmakers, so punters who don’t mind taking additional chances for the sake of nice payouts should place this wager. Lyon’s defenses leave a lot to be desired but if they play the offensive card properly, they might not need stellar goalkeeping or an impeccable backline display.

The Soccer Blog For Sale!

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Hello to all readers of The Soccer Blog

I think I’ve just made a momentous decision. Well, it is pretty huge for me. After many weeks of thinking what to do, I have decided that I am going to say good-bye to what has been my little pride and joy, my labor of love, over the last two and a half years. I am going to sell The Soccer Blog to someone who can give it the time and attention it deserves and that I unfortunately, can no longer give it. Continue reading