So, all things lead to Rio.
The final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is set, as Argentina (one of the firm pre-tournament favorites) and the ever-present Germans do battle in a rematch of the 1990 final in Italy. (Germany won it, in case your memory is as hazy as ours.)
And as the final approaches, it’s fitting that we had possibly our best betting week of the World Cup so far.
We backed Germany to beat Brazil in 90 minutes in their semi-final (which the bookies priced up at stupid odds), and in the end our faith was totally justified as the efficient Germans ran riot over a Brazilian side without captain Thiago Silva and the injured Neymar.
We couldn’t have expected the humiliation of a 7-1 defeat for the Brazilians, of course, but it highlighted just how over-rated this very ordinary Brazil side is, and how efficient the Germans are when you get to the business end of a major tournament.
Elsewhere in the match our prediction for Thomas Muller scoring the first goal paid dividends, as did Brazil getting the first booking.
The second semi-final between Argentina and Holland was never going to produce as many goals as that thriller but everyone hoped it would at least produce some excitement.
In the end, a rather dull game went to extra-time and penalties (earning us a nice profit on the 90-minutes draw result) where Holland’s terrible luck at penalty shootouts continued. The Dutch were beaten by a flawless display of Argentinian penalty-taking and shot-stopping from keeper, Sergio Romero.
So, we head into Sunday’s final as Germany bid to become the first ever European side to win a World Cup on South American soil. Argentina’s Lionel Messi is also aiming to add the one missing trophy that would cement his place as the greatest player of all time. Could it be his time to shine?
World Cup Bets
Germany v Argentina
Sunday 13 July
Argentina to win in 90 minutes
2pts @ 13/5 (bwin)
Under 2.5 goals
5 pts @ 1/2 (bet365)
Thomas Muller 1st goalscorer
2 pts @ 9/2 (PaddyPower)
You have to admire the way Germany utterly dismantled Brazil in the semi-final, and the scoreline could easily have been harsher than the 7-1 it ended up as.
Argentina haven’t always hit top gear in this World Cup but they will certainly provide stiffer opposition to a German side who go into the final as bookies’ favorites.
The bookies go 11/8 the Germans will win in normal time, but with Lionel Messi able to shine on the biggest stage the 13/5 available may be worth a small bet.
Thomas Muller needs two goals to surpass Colombia’s James Rodriguez at the top of the Golden Boot charts, and we’ll stick with him to bag the first goal, despite the fact that Argentina have never trailed at this World Cup.
When Germany (then West Germany) last played Argentina in a World Cup final, the Germans emerged 1-0 winners in a bad-tempered affair. Since then, four of the five World Cup finals have produced under 2.5 goals, the only blip being France’s 3-0 demolition of Brazil in 1998 when the Brazilians decided not to (figuratively) turn up. That forms our final final bet.
Whoever wins, there’s no doubt that the 2014 World Cup has been one of the best tournaments ever, with goals, controversy and drama every step of the way. Fingers crossed the final plays out that way too.
World Cup Outright Bets
Progress So Far…
Netherlands to Win Group B (Won)
Lowest Scoring Group: Group D (Won)
Highest Scoring Group: Group F (Lost)
Golden Boot: Edin Dzeko Each-Way (Lost)
Golden Boot: Gonzalo Higuain Each-Way (Pending)
Chile to Win World Cup (Lost)
England to Reach Quarter-Finals (Lost)
Argentina to Win World Cup (Pending)
England Top Scorer: Raheem Sterling (Lost)