World Cup Previews Day 13: Group C and D Conclude. Can the US Advance?

22 June 2010

USA Head Coach Bob Bradley talks with Midfielder Landon Donovan during a training session. (Credit Image: © epa/ZUMApress.com)
Wednesday sees Groups C and D conclude group play, each with their own interesting scenarios. Group C not only presents a simple 'win and your in' scenario in both matches, draws could easily see goals scored determine second place. In Group D, Germany needs to defeat Ghana to guarantee a trip into the second round. Anything less could see Serbia or Australia advance if either of them get results.

On Tuesday, Jeff went 3 wins and 1 no result. His record now stands at 17 wins, 12 losses, and 6 no results. Johnathan had 2 wins and 2 losses on Tuesday, moving his record to 16 wins, 15 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.

10:00 am on ESPN: United States v Algeria
Johnathan Starling: As a US supporter, I am very nervous about this one. The United States do not have the best record in the world in the final group game at the World Cup. If there is one thing the United States should be worried about, it is Algeria's organization. They not only dare you to attack, but they beg you to. Once you take up their invitation, they are very quick on the counter attack.
Another thing that concerns me about the United States is how they have played in the opening twenty minutes so far in the first two group games already. It has been frustrating to watch as a supporter. However, I think the Egypt win last year at the Confederations Cup has given them belief they can do it here. It won't be pretty by any means, but I think the United States can win and qualify for the final sixteen. That said, my official prediction is the United States to win outright at -140.
Jeff Hash: Yes, that last goal against Slovenia should have counted.  Its time to get over it, and time to address a real problem: the US and their slow starts.  USA conceded an early goal to England (which could have been two if the Three Lions weren't hibernating) and then conceded two to Slovenia in a first half as bad as the opposition's second.  Algeria meanwhile, even in a largely empty performance, will be coming off the high of drawing England.  But the truth is that Algeria just doesn't have the goal threats to truly shake up this group in a major way.  The USA should get through the early part of this one without conceding because of this, which adds to what will be a low goal scoring situation.  My pick for this match is under 2.5 goals at -135.

10:00 am on ESPN2: England v Slovenia
Johnathan Starling: This could be the toughest match to predict of all the final group games. England have looked beyond pathetic in their first two group games, while Slovenia will hope their second half performance against the United States isn't an indicator of things to come. I think the biggest difference in this one is going to be team harmony. England don't have it, Slovenia do. This is going to be a case of England huffing, puffing, and only just coming close to blowing the house down. I think this game has 1-1 draw written all over it, meaning my prediction is Slovenia +1.5 goals at -155.
Jeff Hash: Group C so far has been a largely unremarkable experience as far as World Cup groups go.  I'm really hoping that this last match day will change that, but I don't expect it to.  Slovenia did alright against Algeria, but their weak second half effort against the USA has me worried about this team getting gassed.  England, on the other end, should be plenty rested as they have done absolutely nothing so far except point fingers at each other and, in Rooney's case, the fans.  This runs a bit counter-intuitive to what I did with France yesterday, but I think England's problems are fixable with relation to what they do on the field itself.  But it maybe too late to do so, and in any case, I don't expect either team to truly dominate.  So, I'll take the under 2.5 goals at -130.  A winner may happen, but a low goal total is almost a certain.

2:30 on ESPN: Ghana v Germany
Johnathan Starling: I feel so bad for Ghana in this situation. Germany is mad, and when they play mad in the group stages, it often leads to German victories. Ghana have been exceptional in this World Cup, but in reality should have six points, not four. I don't think that bodes well for them here. With Cacau looking set to replace Klose, the only question in my mind is how many goals Germany can get. I think they split the difference from their first two matches. My prediction is Germany -1 at -135.
Jeff Hash: Like John, I'm very worried about Ghana in this situation.  Its not that they don't have the ability to take on Germany, its just they are taking on a Germany who knows they have their backs against the wall.  No Klose should be no problem for a team like Germany.  Ghana, though, has hidden one noteworthy fact so far: both of their goals have been on penalties.  This really has me scared, as Germany is not a side to concede such things lightly.  I'm going to go along with John on this one: my pick is Germany -1 goal at -135.

2:30 on ESPN2: Serbia v Australia
Johnathan Starling: We could talk about the political implications in this match, but I'd rather spare the time. Serbia, despite beating Germany, did not look all that good against Ghana. Australia haven't looked particularly good in either of the first two matches. I think Australia's problem here is them thinking they still have a shout, trying to attack way too much, and being bitten because of it. My prediction is Serbia to win outright at -125.
Jeff Hash: This has been a forgettable tournament for the Aussies.  They lost one player to suspension in game two, and now they'll be without two players (Harry Kewell and Craig Moore) for the final game.  Meanwhile, they've only managed one goal to Ghana, which will be tough to get again at the rate they are going.  Serbia winning over Germany is a great springboard to this game, and alongside the depleted opposition, gives me all the reason to take Serbia big.  Serbia -1 at +155 sounds great to me.

What do you think? 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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