Football / Preview / World Cup Saturday 3Rd July

World Cup: Saturday 3rd July

The third and fourth semi-final spots will be decided on Saturday as Germany face Argentina in the early kick-off before Paraguay play Spain.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona



Germany (Bettorlogic rank 5) v Argentina (3) (Sat, 15:00)

Both sides recorded comfortable wins in the Last 16 after each benefitted from awful calls by the referees and this is all set-up for a great match between the two former champions. This is a fourth World Cup meeting between these teams since 1986, with all three previous encounters coming in the knockout stages and resulting in one win apiece in finals and a win on penalties for the Germans four years ago at this same stage following a 1-1 draw.

Argentina’s finals record against top-10 sides in knockout football is very poor as they’ve gone W3-D7-L4 but back to the 1990 World Cup semi-finals are just W0-D6-L4 although they’ve failed to score in just two of those 10 matches as there’s been three 1-1s and three 2-2s. Their penalty record since then is fair, as they’ve won three of the six they’ve contested after none of the last six draws were settled in extra-time. Of these last 10 matches six saw at least three goals while eight had both teams scoring.

Germany have a superb record in major knockout football as they’ve won 10 of 23 such games against top-10 teams since 1070 with just five defeats, and they’ve qualified on 15 occasions. In the last 20 years in such matches they’ve gone W4-D3-L2, qualifying in six of nine and with just three having over 2.5 goals. Also, Germany have reached at least the semis in each of their last three major tournaments and should it come to penalties they are notoriously ruthless as they’ve won all five shootouts since 1982.

Further good news for the Germans comes with the stat that of the 11 previous major quarter-final clashes between two top-10 teams where one side had beaten another top-10 team in the previous round, that side progressed on seven occasions with just one defeat in 90 minutes (W4-D6-L1).

Recommendation: Germany Draw No Bet 2.38, Boyles
                                   0.5pt: Germany to win on penalties at 11, Various


Paraguay (11) v Spain (4) (Sat, 19:30)

Paraguay are the only team to reach the quarter-finals by virtue of penalties as they beat Japan 5-3 in their Last 16 encounter. The South Americans were extremely defensive against Japan and they are likely to suffer here if they adopt a similar strategy, although they will have some belief following Switzerland’s 1-0 win over Spain in the opening Group Stage match. This is the furthest that Paraguay have ever progressed in World Cup finals, however they have played six Copa America quarters since 1993. Unfortunately, they have been knocked out in all six games with four losses in 90 minutes. Paraguay have also won just two of 16 finals matches against top-five ranked teams with eight defeats and nine HT stalemates. Interestingly, all of their losses have been to nil while they have failed to score in four of the six draws.

Spain beat a defensive-minded Portugal in their Last 16 match. They have now won their last three games, since the aforementioned shock defeat to Switzerland, and although he has been criticised, Fernando Torres has started in all three victories but was absent from the opener. Teams that have won all of their last three matches in 90 minutes have lost just four of 33 finals since 1970 with 16 wins. Furthermore, the win-rate increases to 60% when the team are higher-ranked than their opponents — W12-D6-L2 with eight wins-to-nil. Despite their improvement in recent years, it is still worth noting that Spain have won just one of five finals knockout matches since 1984 against teams ranked 6-16.

More generally, top-five ranked teams have won 27/66 (41%) of knockout finals matches against teams ranked 6-16 with 18 (27%) losses and 21 (32%) draws. 38 (58%) of the games ended with fewer than three goals while 1-1 (11 times) has been the most common final score. Although a Spain win-to-nil is tempting, the odds of 2.10 just don’t add up to the historical all-team stats. As such, Spain are too short to win in 90 minutes.

Recommendation: Lay Spain Win 1.53, Betfair

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