World Cup: Argentina’s our cherry on top of Brazil 2014 pie

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Updated: July 13, 2014
Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi (pictured) has the chance to elevate his aura to a new level in tonight's World Cup final against Germany

Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi (pictured) has the chance to elevate his aura to a new level in tonight’s World Cup final against Germany

Today’s game

Final: Germany v Argentina; Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Monday, July 14, 5am (listen to our World Cup final preview podcast here)

 

Firstly, I wanted to thank everyone for their support over the past month. We’ve enjoyed an outrageously successful tournament with a documented profit of more than 50 per cent to date. To put that into perspective, our profit target was five per cent, and we’d have been delighted to reach that figure. Our team correctly spotted the key factors of the weather, travel, preparation and scheduling prior to the tournament, which resulted in the highest scoring first stage in World Cup history. We’re expecting a tight and tense clash, but hope it lives up to the billing deserving of a World Cup final. One last reminder to all that the final is scheduled to be played one hour earlier than the quarter-finals and semi-finals (4pm local time, 5am AET).

 

Current World Cup promotions

Centrebet – Correct Score Bonus
Get a 25% BONUS on the Correct Score market on ALL matches during the World Cup. Available to July 14, 2014.
Centrebet – Double Your Winnings
Double your winnings on the First Goalscorer market if the first goal is scored in the first half of the World Cup Final on Monday July 14.
Sportingbet – Big Bet Special
In the World Cup Final get $4 odds for Germany to score 2 or more goals in normal time.
Betfair – World Cup Final Promo
Choose two out of the following four:
Promo 1: 50% match odds boost
Promo 2: Messi to score anytime for boosted price of $5
Promo 3: Muller to score anytime for boosted price of $5
Promo 4: If there’s a red card at any stage get your first bet refunded up to $25

BetEasy – World Cup Special
Place a bet on the Win-Draw-Win market and if your selection is a winner at 90 minutes and Thomas Muller or Lionel Messi score, BetEasy will double your stake in Free Bet winnings! Maximum Stake $50.

Ladbrokes – World Cup Special
In selected matches Ladbrokes will nominate a ‘headline player’ from each team. If that player scores a goal and his team wins the game, you will receive the promotional odds for that combination. Valid for bets up to $100.

Unibet – Injury Time Insurance
Throughout the whole tournament Unibet will refund all losing Correct Score, Halftime/Fulltime, First Goalscorer and Last Goalscorer bets up to €100 on any match under this market where a goal is scored in injury time.
Unibet – Every 5th Bet Risk Free
Just place 4 separate €5 bets on any live market and Unibet will give you a live risk free bet on any match on that day.

 

Past finals

History shows that finals are, not surprisingly, tight affairs. The only match-up that defied that trend was the France 1998 final in which the host nation dominated. However, it should be remembered that the Brazilian side was divided by the physical state of their superstar Ronaldo, who’d initially been left out of the side only for Brazilian officials to order that he be re-instated. The high scoring shootouts in the 1980s are also but a distant memory.  The past eight results were:

2010: Spain v Netherlands 0-0 (1-0 in extra time)

2006: Italy v France 1-1 (after extra time, penalties)

2002: Brazil v Germany 2-0 (normal time)

1998: France v Brazil 3-0 (normal time)

1994: Brazil v Italy 0-0 (after extra time, penalties)

1990: West Germany v Argentina 1-0 (normal time)

1986: Argentina v West Germany 3-2 (normal time)

1982: Italy v West Germany 3-1 (normal time)

 

The history

It’s not the final we expected but one wholly appropriate for a tournament that’s had more twists and turns than a trip through the Amazon rainforest. It’s the third date to the big dance for Argentina and Germany. Both nations have won one each – the Diego Maradona-led Argentina to a 3-2 win in 1986 before the Germans turned the tables four years later with a 1-0 win in Italy. Adding to the two finals, there have been four other match-ups, with Germany winning three times and drawing once. Germany knocked Argentina out on penalties on their way to the last four in 2006 but lost to eventual winners Italy. Only Philipp Lahm, Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker remain from the 2006 team and finally have a chance for redemption.

 

One of the world's great sporting theatres, the Maracana (pictured) in Rio De Janeiro will host tonight's World Cup final between Germany and Argentina

One of the world’s great sporting theatres, the Maracana (pictured) in Rio De Janeiro will host tonight’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina

The teams

You can never entirely rule out surprise selection decisions, especially from Joachim Low, but neither coach has obvious selection dilemmas. Low is unlikely to tinker with an XI that beat-up on Brazil so it’s likely to be a team comprised of: Manuel Neuer, Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Benedikt Howedes; Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose in a 4-3-3 formation. Alejandro Sabella’s side has been compromised by injury since day one of the tournament with Angel di Maria likely to figure. So, in a 4-4-1-1 set-up, it’s likely to be Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo; Enzo Perez, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Ezequiel Lavezzi; Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.

 

The tactics

Three-man defences have featured prominently in this tournament, but these two use a flat back four. In terms of formations, the battles are straightforward – the midfield trios will be matched, the wingers will be up against the full-backs, and both teams will have a spare man at the back. Judging by this alone, we could be in for a tight, tense contest. Argentina’s main tactic is to supply Messi as quickly as possible, and it’s imperative for Germany that Schweinsteiger has a solid game in front of the back four. Because they want to press in midfield, this means a high defensive line. The key battle, though, is between Argentina’s left-back and Germany’s right-sided forward: Marcos Rojo against Thomas Muller. Rojo started the tournament very adventurously but will have learned a lesson from the way Muller destroyed Brazil by attacking in behind Marcelo.

 

The conditions

TV images of tens of thousands of Argentinean supporters descending on Rio De Janeiro have been beamed around the planet, but don’t think that will provide La Albiceleste with a “home” advantage. Sadly, the World Cup final has been reduced to a corporate affair, and finals for much of the past two decades have featured mostly mooted crowds. That’s due to the fact that the past two FIFA administrations have prostituted the tournament to the point that it’s cronies first, friends second, sponsors third with genuine fans a distant last when it comes to ticketing priorities. Throw in the fact that Argentina is the biggest rival of Brazil on the continent, so it’s unlikely that many favours will be thrown in the direction of the South American representatives at the Maracana tonight. Conditions should be warm (approximately 26ºC with humidity in the 80s) but teams are well adjusted by this stage of the tournament.

 

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Confirmed bets

Germany v Argentina WIN inc. extra time & penalties (one unit @ $2.42)

First goalscorer Lionel Messi (0.5 units @ $6.00)

Germany v Argentina – correct score 0-1 (0.5 units @ $9.00)

We’ve capped this game as a coin-flip, so the value on Argentina is enticing. The market has clearly been seduced by Germany’s 7-1 win over Brazil, and the public money has flowed towards the Europeans since the market opened. But we’re comfortable opposing the public here. All seven World Cups held in the Americas have been won by a South American nation. Germany have lost four of their seven World Cup finals, including three of their past four. Despite the vast improvement in the German football program in recent years, they’ve failed to lift a single trophy despite running deep on several occasions. The Albiceleste seized the advantage in four Brazil 2014 fixtures (striking within eight minutes in three) and held out for scoreless draws in the others. They are also yet to concede a knockout goal, despite extra time in two of the games stretching their number of hours on the pitch without leaking to five and a half. We acknowledge Germany’s extra day of rest but don’t expect that it will be a major factor here.

 

Most recent results: 1-0-2, +0.13 units; overall record: 28-1-20, +25.84 units

Brazil v Netherlands +2.5 (2.5 units @ $1.65) WIN (0-3)

Brazil v Netherlands +3.5 (one unit @ $2.50) LOSE (0-3)

Brazil v Netherlands +4.5 (0.5 units @ $4.40) LOSE (0-3)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Sportingbet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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