Both the USA and Germany know that a draw is all that they require in Recife on Thursday to secure their places in knockout stages of the World Cup.
With one win and one draw from their first two group matches, the two nations are locked on four points, although the Germans sit top of Group G thanks to their superior goal difference.
The USA, who are coached by former Germany international Jurgen Klinsmann, will continue to be without Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore because of a hamstring problem.
These two sides have met on nine previous occasions, with Germany leading 6-3. Their last fixture was back in June last year, when the Americans came out on top 4-3, thanks in part to a double from Clint Dempsey.
United States vs. Germany (Group G)
2 way line – United States +0.5 (+125) Germany -0.5 (-145)
3 way line – United States (+865) Germany (-145) Draw (+180)
Total – Over 2.5 (-110) Under 2.5 (-110)
Side: The United States were 30 seconds away from their second consecutive win, six points, and an improbable position in the Round of 16. Then Cristiano Ronaldo happened. Now the Yanks must regroup, and regroup fast. The combination of an insane amount of travel, a draining game in the Amazon jungle, and the crushing blow of a late equalizer would normally be a recipe for disaster for any international team. But if the U.S.
have proven anything over their soccer history, they are not the run-of-the-mill side. Tactically the U.S. should return to the same formation that saw the addition of an extra midfielder as a replacement to Jozy Altidore. Possession will be key against the Germans. Even though manager Jürgen Klinsmann will say his team will go for a win against Die Mannschaft, in reality they’ll play the game as if they have a lead anytime the scoreline is even.
Ghana exposed the German defense by crashing down the right flank, the U.S. did the same incredibly well against Portugal. Fabian Johnson will once again be crucial if the United States want to throw numbers forward and attempt to score. The added bonus against Germany compared to Portugal is if Johnson is unable to retreat, there’s not a player of Ronaldo’s caliber to feast on the error. However, that does not mean that task defensively is easier for the U.S.
Germany are excellent when they control possession in the final third. Against Ghana, the U.S. held strong despite being unable to get out of their own end, but they weren’t nearly as organized against Portugal. If the U.S. can get the defense that showed up against Ghana combined with the attack they received against Portugal, it’ll be enough to hold onto the draw. If one side or the other lacks, they’ll need to hope the other group game’s result to send them through.
The Germans have a habit of struggling in second matches of World Cups. Their lone triumph in the previous five tournaments came on an injury time goal against Poland in 2006. However, things turn around awfully quickly for the Germans as they’ve posted an impressive 5-0 record in those same five World Cups. Defensively they almost looked lazy at times against the strong and quick Black Stars. The Germans wanted to play a slower game through the midfield than Ghana allowed and it caused an inordinate number of turnovers for the usually machine-like German side. With a goal differential of +4 and an almost guaranteed spot in the next round, it will be interesting to see how progressive the Germans chose to be.
They clearly want to provide a better performance than the one that nearly got them beat by Ghana, but at the same time the U.S. have shown the ability to score and the only way Germany are at risk is if they lose. There are plenty of calls for collusion between Klinsmann and his good friend Joachim Löw. It won’t happen. Both teams have a lot to play for and both would love nothing more to stick it to the other side. The game should be hotly contested for the first 70 minutes or so, but if it remains tied late, risks will be few and far between as the draw suits both. Pick: 3 way bet – Draw (+180)
Total: Both teams have shown the ability to score, and they’ve also shown they’re not immune to concession. However, the circumstances in this game are vastly different from those each team faced in their first pair of matches. There will be an extended feel-out process before either side begins to mount an idea on how to break down the other, then the game should pick up substantially. The odds are stacked against the Americans however Germany may not come at them with the normal German fervor.
An early goal would throw this match into a tizzy, but each side will be ultra conservative with the understanding that a scoreless draw sends them both through. Had Germany needed more than a draw to win the group it could have shaped up to be a more open game, but the U.S. are in that position and their ultimate goal is not a Group G championship, it’s a trip to the knockout round. Pick: Under 2.5 goals (-110)
Possible starting lineups
USA: Howard; Johnson, Cameron, Besler, Beasley; Beckerman, Jones; Bedoya, Bradley, Zusi; Dempsey
Germany: Neuer; Howedes, Hummels, Mertesacker, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Ozil, Kroos, Gotze; Muller
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