The World Cup Knockout Round begins on Saturday, June 28. There are a number of ways that the remaining 2014 World Cup contenders can reach that round of 16 international football teams. Countries located in or near the host country tend to play excellent football when the FIFA World Cup comes around every year. Accordingly, host team Brazil is the Vegas odds on favorite to win this year’s heated competition, currently delivering 3 to 1 odds. But nearby Argentina is considered nearly as likely to win the World Cup Championship (4 to 1), along with powerhouse Germany. Brazil’s fellow South American teams from Colombia, Uruguay and Chile are middle-of-the-road World Cup contenders currently delivering some very attractive odds as well.
Germany, Belgium, Argentina Advance
France has benefited from a generous grouping and bracket, and along with Holland is showing roughly 8 to 1 odds against to win the World Cup Championship on Sunday, July 13 at Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. While the United States is an emotional favorite of North American sports bettors, the team will have to register a tie or a victory against a talented German team in Group G action on Thursday, June 26. Germany is already guaranteed to reach the Knockout Round of 16. Belgium is an interesting team, currently showing odds of 20 to 1 to win the World Cup this year, and they have already advanced to the next round as well. Argentina is advancing from Group F, and dangerous underdog contender France can advance and take first place in group E with a win or draw versus Ecuador, or a Swiss loss or draw versus Honduras.
Brazil – Chile, Colombia – Uruguay Contests Heat Up Knockout Round Play Saturday, June 28
Both Columbia and Greece have advanced from Group C, and Brazil and Mexico move on from Group A. But Group D provides the most enthralling knockout round scenario. Costa Rica has clinched a Knockout Round spot, and Italy can advance with either a draw or a win against Uruguay. And Uruguay can advance with a win over Italy. So there are multiple teams which need to win or draw when they play in the final round of the first segment of World Cup action, on July 25 and 26. Two matchups are already set for Saturday’s Knockout Round, with a Brazil – Chile matchup looking like a must-see. There is also an excellent game scheduled between Colombia and Uruguay Saturday, with the Netherlands taking on Mexico and Costa Rica facing off against Greece on Sunday, June 29.
Will USA – Germany Game End Up a No Contest “Gentleman’s Agreement” Draw?
The USA – Germany matchup on Thursday at Noon Eastern time will be telecast at tens of thousands of sports bars and sporting venues across the United States. But the talented USA team led by top goal scorers Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and John Brooks will have to play a nearly perfect game to get by a German team showing 4 to 1 odds as the next World Cup Champion. Since the US can advance with a draw, and Germany does not improve its position with a win, there have been questions about a possible ”non-aggression pact” between the two teams. That is a reasonable question to ask, since Germany scored at the 10 minute mark against Austria in 1982 in the World Cup in Spain, and then both teams basically just kicked the ball around for the next 80 minutes. That “no play” agreement guaranteed both teams advanced to the next round, and eliminated Algeria.
USA – Germany Matchup Offers Interesting Story Lines
That shameful low point in World Cup history led to today’s practice of final group matches played simultaneously. This drastically reduces the possibility of a “gentleman’s agreement” affecting the fate of other teams and watering down the wonderful World Cup football product. Oddly, five players currently on the United States team have German mothers, and four of them play in the German Bundesliga. The United States coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, was one of the biggest stars on the German team that won the most recent of its three World Cup titles, in 1990. In 2006, Klinsmann coached Germany to a third-place finish, and his assistant coach at that time, Joachim Loew, will be across the field for Thursday’s big game as the coach of the German team. That connection and others led to talks of possible collusion, but players and coaches on both teams vehemently guarantee an up-and-up heated and competitive matchup.