Mon, Jun 16, 5:09pm by Daryl Curnow
ONE of the most anticipated matches in the opening round of the 2014 World Cup is between the powerhouse Germans and the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal. Both teams are heavily favoured to progress into the finals but there are injury worries for Ronaldo, but he is expected to play and heads to goal scorer markets.
Portugal needed an overtime victory against Sweden to make the World Cup and they have been slammed for playing at the level of their opposition. In a good way, if they play to Germany’s level then they should play well! The Germany squad has won their last nine out of 10 matches but they too are dealing with injuries. Marco Reus is out of the tournament with an ankle injury with Ilkay Gundogan and Holger Badstuber also out. They do however have prolific goal scorer Miroslav Klose, along with noted scorers Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller.
Portugal’s offense is largely based around Ronaldo but he does have a steady team of scorers around him and we will preview their chances of scoring first.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – $5
The star striker for the Portuguese side is the favourite to score first and it’s not surprising considering he’s their main striker. He had an incredible goal scoring year for Real Madrid, the 29-year-old scoring 31 goals from only 30 games.
He was the second highest goal scorer in the 2006 World Cup qualification series and he took his international scoring tally to 49 goals after scoring twice in Portugal’s 5-1 win over Cameroon.
Ronaldo is paying $2.35 at Sportingbet to score a goal at any time which looks like a good bet as he will likely be their main offensive target. Don’t worry too much about his injury troubles, reports say he will be fine and rearing to go.
Miroslav Klose (Germany) – $5.50
The all-time leading goal scorer for Germany is his teams best chance to score. Klose has scored 69 international goals in 132 matches which is a good strike rate for typically low scoring affairs.
The ageing striker has scored 14 World Cup goals with four coming in 2010 – putting him in joint second place in all-time World Cup scorers.
He’s playing in his fourth World Cup and he is a solid chance to score first. He is at $2.50 to score anytime at Sportingbet and we favour that as Germany are expected to edge Portugal out.
Toni Kroos (Germany) – $8.50
The German mid-fielder has scored only five goals for his team but in the 2010 World Cup he hardly saw any action. The now 24-year-old scored three goals in qualifying – two coming against Ireland and the other against Germany’s 3-0 win against Austria.
He prefers to set up goals rather than score them but he does have the ability to header the ball from corners. In what should be a tight defensive tussle, a header from a corner kick could be their best options and Kroos has every chance to be on the end of it.
Kroos has scored 40 goals throughout his career and he’s at good odds to score another when Germany face Portugal.
Lukas Podolski (Germany) – $6.50
The German forward is their second best chance to score and he scored in the first game of the 2010 World Cup. That came against Australia in Germany’s 4-0 win. He also scored another tournament goal against England and he shows he can score against some of Europe’s best teams.
He owns the record for the fastest German goal – an amazing 9 seconds after kickoff against Ecuador – and if he can score that quickly then the $6.50 will look silly!
He has plenty of strike power and he’s tricky for the defense – being a left footer – so he’s a realistic chance to get the ball in the net.
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