World Cup Day 8 Preview: Group C Comes to a Boil, Group D Leaders Square Off

18 June 2010

Tim Howard laughs during his team's training session at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, 17 June 2010. The USA will face Slovenia in their FIFA 2010 World Cup preliminary round match on June 18. (Credit Image: © epa/ZUMApress.com)
Group C play their second round of group games on Friday, after Group D leaders Germany and Serbia meet in Port Elizabeth.

Johnathan rebounded on Thursday, having 2 wins and 1 loss in his predictions. His record stands at 10 wins, 7 losses, and 3 no results. Jeff's record on Thursday was 1 win, and 2 losses, moving his record to 9 wins, 7 losses, and 4 no results.

Note: If we're using the handicap line, we will include what the spread is. If it spread is 0, a draw will mean no result. If we use the Over/Under line, just add the total number of goals scored in a match. Please note that this will all be based on the scoreline at Full Time (90 minutes). For betting purposes, only the result after 90 minutes are counted. Our odds are courtesy of Centsports.

7:30 am on ESPN: Germany v Serbia:
Jeff Hash: So, was 4-0 over Australia a mirage, or an indication of a greater Germany than everyone expected?  I don't know if that matters in this game.  Why?  Because the other game in Group D showed Serbia for the long shot that they are, and the suspension of Lukovic certainly does not help.  If Serbia can only manage two shots on goal against a good but not great Ghana, then their attack doesn't hold much hope against the Germans.  With a chance of locking advancement to the round of 16, I think we are about to see yet another multi-goal victory for the 2006 world cup hosts.  Therefore, my pick is going to be Germany -1 at -110.
Johnathan Starling: Yes, Germany is as good as I thought they were prior to the World Cup starting. With Serbia lacking bite, and showing some mental instability against Ghana, I am inclined to agree with Jeff here in saying another German multi-goal victory is on the cards. How much so you might ask? Enough for me to confidently say not only does the -1 spread Germany has in the match seem small, but so does the goal total being set at 2.5. I would parlay Germany -1 and the over 2.5, but my official prediction is the over 2.5 goals at +110. If I could also bet on Serbia ending the match on less than 11 men, I would do the same as well.

10:00 am on ESPN: Slovenia v United States
Jeff Hash: Let's get this out of the way to start: no matter what newspaper headlines or biased blog writers might say, a 1-1 result is not a win.  That said, the United States did well in keeping England in check, though they owe a sizable thank you to Robert Green.  However, its been pretty clear from the beginning this is the game that matters, and Slovenia had a confident (if also somewhat fortunate) start in beating Algeria.  I know Tim Howard says he's fine, and he'll go a full 90 I'm sure, but the fact that he won't be 100 percent worries me a bit.  Slovenia, however, will need to do better in their connecting play to truly threaten the US.  The only thing I don't really see coming in this game is goals, so my pick will be under 2.5 goals at -200.
Johnathan Starling: When I hear players like Landon Donovan say they are treating this game like a World Cup Final, I start getting scared. I know they need three points here in this match, and that they think this is a winnable game. However, I just keep thinking back to all those games in prior World Cups that everyone though were 'winnable'. Remember those outcomes? Now Slovenia were in control against Algeria for most of the match, but I think their finishing woes continue. My official prediction on this game is the United States on the 0 line at -220. I think the game has either a 2-0 USA victory or 1-1 draw written all over it. If there is a winner, I think it will be the United States.

2:30 pm on ESPN2: England v Algeria
Jeff Hash: Two teams who are both ruing goalkeeper mistakes in their first game, England and Algeria now have to rebound or be left behind.  England were the second side against the USA, yes, but it wasn't the worst of performances.  However, the more I think about it, the more I realize I didn't find Algeria's performance all that great against Slovenia.  Gareth Barry could be a blessing or a curse for England, as it could open up their midfield or leave them out yet another substitution early on.  I think both teams are going to be shaky in this one as the goalkeepers try to regain focus, and for me, shaky translates to goals.  I will therefore be taking the over 2.5 goals at -105.
Johnathan Starling: England were a nervous team against the United States. While Slovenia were the better side against Algeria, Algeria did frustrate them with their organization. One thing Algeria does have is pace to burn, something they can exploit against England's slower center backs. While I think England will probably get a goal late to win, I think the spread bet on this match is completely insane. My official prediction on this match is Algeria +1.5 at -115. This game I think is going to be decided by 1 goal, and I would recommend also parlay the over 2.5 goals Jeff predicted in this match.

What do you think will happen in the games on Friday? Let us know in the comments below.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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