The latest odds ahead of the next set of fixtures.
Thursday sees the World Cup 2014 group stage reach its climax, as Brazil’s rollercoaster ride momentarily comes to a halt.
We’ll have to get back to the usual evening routine of twiddling our thumbs during the World Cup’s two-day break, but let’s hope that the group stage signs off with a bang to keep us going through the tournament’s down time.
Portugal vs. Ghana, 17:00
Portugal promised so much heading into the World Cup – the fourth-best team on the planet who happen to harbour Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks – but it hasn’t quite played out like that.
After a 4-0 loss to Germany in their opener, Portugal just about kept their hopes alive thanks to Silvestre Varela’s last-gasp equaliser in their second match against the USA.
It means that they now need a huge win against Ghana combined with a USA loss to the Germans to progress, and they’re 22/1 to win 3-0 and 40/1 to win 4-0 with SkyBet.
Ronaldo has been nursing a niggling knee injury throughout the tournament, but it hasn’t stopped him producing some moments of magic. His cross for Varela against the USA was perfect, but he’s yet to make his mark on the goalscoring front. SkyBet have the Real Madrid star at 3/1 to find his feet with the first goal of the match, with a hat-trick an outside chance at 11/1.
Ronaldo will have his work cut out against the stubborn Ghanaians, though, who have their own knockout stage mission on their hands. Also needing a victory to stand any chance of progressing, Ghana are 11/5 with SkyBet to find their way to victory in Brasilia.
Andre Ayew has scored in both of the African nation’s matches so far, having previously gone through an international goal drought, and is 5/2 with SkyBet to find the net again against Portugal.
With both sides likely to adopt an all-out attacking policy, it looks like the goal flood gates could open in the Brazilian capital. Over 3.5 goals looks a good bet at 11/8 with SkyBet, likewise does both teams to score in the first half at 5/2.
USA vs. Germany, 17:00
USA have been one of the surprise packages of the World Cup so far. Expected to go out from Group G with a whimper, the Americans now stand just a point away from progressing to the last 16.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s men are 21/10 with SkyBet to get the draw that they need in Recife, with Clint Dempsey looking good as the first USA goalscorer at 4/1.
However, USA will have their work cut out against the Germans, who are still yet to secure their place in the last 16.
Germany’s draw against Ghana proved that they are capable of slipping up, but they’re favourites for the World Cup for a reason and are 8/13 to round off their group stage with a win on Thursday.
Thomas Mueller, who scored a hat-trick against Portugal in Group G’s opener, is set to lead the line once again for Germany and is 4/1 to score a brace during the match.
The Germans also only need a draw to progress, and with both teams striving to avoid defeat, SkyBet’s odds of there to be under 1.5 goals in the match look appealing at 3/1.
However, winning the group means avoiding the highly rated Belgians in the last 16 and Germany could go all out to do just that. They’re an enhanced 12/1 to win 3-0 with SkyBet, with the scorecast of Mueller to score first in a 2-1 German win at 22/1 also looking good.
South Korea vs. Belgium, 21:00
It’s safe to say that Belgium haven’t really got going yet, but the fact that they’ve recorded two wins out of two tells you everything you need to know.
Winning ugly is the sign of champions and Marc Wilmots’ side are 11/4 to do it once again by winning by exactly one goal against South Korea.
However, the South Koreans are far from a fierce opposition and Belgium could run riot in Sao Paulo against their shaky defence. SkyBet have the Belgians at an enhanced 16/1 to win 3-0, while 4-0 also looks good at 33/1.
Wilmots has enough forward talent in his ranks to trouble even the meanest of defences and the goals look like raining down on the South Koreans. If Belgium do manage to find their goalscoring touch on Thursday, having them -2 at 11/2 with SkyBet is a sensible call.
Romelu Lukaku is yet to open his World Cup account and is evens with SkyBet to do so against Korea, a side that have really disappointed so far.
South Korea shipped four goals against Algeria in their last match following a draw against Russia, but are still in with a slim chance of progression if results go their way.
They need to win big against Belgium and are 50/1 with SkyBet to record a 3-0 victory – so, yes, very slim indeed.
Algeria vs. Russia, 21:00
The race to join Belgium in the knockout stage from Group H comes down to Algeria and Russia, with the victor of the clash in Curitiba likely to progress.
Algeria played incredibly well against South Korea and were good value for their 4-2 triumph, but they’re still underdogs against the Russians. SkyBet have the African nation at 5/2 for a win, while a draw stands at 13/5 – well worth a flutter.
Islam Slimani opened the scoring against the Koreans with a well-taken finish and is 13/2 with SkyBet to do the same against Russia with the game’s opener.
Under Fabio Capello’s guidance in Brazil, Russia have looked a little flat at times, but performed well defensively against the Belgians last time around.
Though they were breached right at the death, they’re 7/4 with SkyBet to not make the same mistake again and keep a clean sheet against Algeria.
Not conceding would be all well and good for Russia, but what they really need is goals. Winning the match should see them through to the knockout stage, and they’re 11/10 with SkyBet to do just that.
Aleksandr Kokorin missed some guilt-edge chances against Belgium, but will be determined to make amends and is good value at 6/4 to score in 90 minutes.
Though the curtain is now coming down on the group stage, the show has been absolutely spectacular. Don’t fret, everyone, there’s still so much more to come.