Football / Preview / World Cup 23Rd June

World Cup: Wednesday 23rd June

England must beat Slovenia if they are to assure qualification to the knockout stages while in Group D any two of the four teams can qualify.

Wayne Rooney




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England (Bettorlogic Rank 4) v Slovenia (34) (Weds, 15:00)

England must beat Slovenia if they are to be assured of progress to the Last 16 of the World Cup. It is impossible to know whether there will be a significant advantage to winning Group C, as that team face Group D runners-up, which could quite conceivably be Germany. So poor was England’s performance against Algeria that any knockout spot would be a bonus. England have won six of nine finals matches against teams with a Bettorlogic rank of 26-45 with four W/Ws. Since 1970, England have won three and lost two of their finals group stage fixtures when they have failed to win either of their first two. One stat that does bode well for Fabio Capello’s team is that since USA 1994, top-10 teams that have drawn their opening two games have won seven of eight undefeated matches, six of which settled the +2.5 goals market.

Although Slovenia led the USA 2-0 at half-time in their last game, they are fortunate to be at the top of Group C after two matches. They benefited from an awful goalkeeping error against Algeria in their opener, while the USA had a legitimate goal disallowed in the dying minutes of their 2-2 draw. Slovenia have faced top-10 ranked opposition on just three occasions in finals, gaining only one point, but they did score in each game. More generally, top-10 ranked teams have won 59% (82/138) finals matches against teams ranked 26-45 with an even 69/69 of over and under 2.5 goals games.

Finally, teams that are two points behind their opponents in the final group stage match but ranked at least 10 places higher, have won just six of 14 such games since 1970 with the lower-ranked team netting on nine occasions while eight of the fixtures saw at least three goals.

Recommendation: +2.5 goals 2.14, Betfair


USA (12) v Algeria (52) (Weds, 15:00)

As mentioned in the above preview, the USA were unlucky to not come away with three points against Algeria despite trailing 2-0 at the break. Their second-half comeback should give them an added confidence here and should they win, they will probably go through as group winners. Since 1990, the USA have won just two of 17 World Cup group stage matches and, incredibly, they have conceded in all 17 games (eight +2.5 goals). 13 of the 16 finals games in which a team ranked 6-15 has conceded against a teamed ranked outside the top-50 have seen at least three goals (10 +3.5 goals) and they’ve still won on nine occasions.

Including their two failures in this tournament so far, Algeria have scored in eight of their last 12 finals matches against higher-ranked opposition. For clarification purposes, it should also be noted that if they don’t score in this game they will be knocked out of the World Cup. Both teams have scored in three of the four World Cup games between African and CONCACAF nations since 1970 while African sides that have failed to win either of their first two World Cup matches have lost eight of 18 games, with just three victories.

Recommendation: +2.5 goals 2.32, Betfair


Australia (30) v Serbia (15) (Weds, 19:30)

Australia are rank outsiders to progress from Group D. Having gained just one point from their games against Germany and Ghana they can be backed at 20.0 on Betfair to reach the Last 16. The Aussies have now conceded in all of their six World Cup fixtures since 2006 with just a solitary 3-1 victory over Japan. Teams ranked 21-40 have lost seven of 12 third World Cup matches against sides ranked 11-20 with four losses by two clear goals. More generally, in all finals matches the higher ranked side has won 45% (57/126) of the matches.

Serbian fans would have feared the worse after their 1-0 loss to Ghana in their group opener, but hope was restored following their historic 1-0 victory over 10-man Germany last-time-out. A win here would guarantee progress to the knockout stages, although they are unlikely to top the group unless there is a tie in the other match. Strangely, teams that have beaten a top-five ranked side have won just nine of 27 finals Group Stage matches since 1970 with 11 defeats. Serbia’s win against Germany came on the back of six consecutive finals losses, four of which settled the +3.5 goals market. The Europeans have however won two of their four World Cup matches against teams ranked 21-40.

Recommendation: Lay Serbia 1.97, Betfair


Ghana (45) v Germany (5) (Weds, 19:30)

Ghana come into this match as group leaders, but also with the knowledge that they could quite easily be eliminated from the competition at the first stage. The Black Stars have faced European opposition three times in finals with two wins and one defeat; all three games saw fewer than three goals and just one team net. Further, they have only once faced a top-five ranked team in finals – their 3-0 loss to Brazil in the Last 16 of Germany 2006. Teams ranked 35-55 have lost 59% (45/76) finals matches against top-10 ranked sides, but they have been level at half-time on 40 (53%) occasions. The loss-rate for the lower-ranked team increases to 62% (8/13) when the higher-ranked side have been beaten in their previous game.

Since 1970, Germany have played only three group stage matches following a loss in their previous match – six of their nine defeats have come in their final group stage match. However, the Germans have won five of their last six final group stage matches when they have won either of their opening two games – W5-D1-L0 with five clean sheets and four -2.5 goals games. Over the same period, they have won nine of 12 finals matches against teams ranked at least 30 places lower than themselves with six HT stalemates.

Recommendation: Germany Win to nil 2.60, Betfair 


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