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Portugal vs. Ghana – World Cup 2014 – Group G Predictions and Betting Preview for June 26, 2014

Portugal vs. Ghana – World Cup 2014 – Group G Predictions and Betting Preview for June 26, 2014

With their World Cup campaign nearing extinction, Cristiano Ronaldo reminded everyone that he is the best player in the world delivering a sumptuous cross with just seconds remaining that substitute Silvestre Varela headed into the far corner for the equalizer against the United States. His goal ensured the Portuguese are still alive in Group G where all four teams still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the Round of 16.

Ronaldo and co. now head to Estadio Nacional on June 26 to face a strong Ghanaian side in a game that both need to win to sustain any hope of advancing to the next stage. To even have a sniff at it, the teams in this match will need help from Germany and the United States, who will play a group-defining match at the same exact time. You can find our preview of that game here.

Read on for insights into this Ghana-Portugal decider, including breakdowns of the tiebreaker scenarios in Group G and get into the action with some well-placed sports bets today.

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Portugal vs Ghana, World Cup 2014, Group Stage Betting Preview and Prediction

Where: Estadio Nacional de Brasilia, Brazil

When: Thursday, June 26, 2014, 12:00 PM ET

Line: Portugal +113 at Ghana +197, tie +227; total 2.5 – view all World Cup lines

What’s at stake:

If this game ends in a draw, both Portugal and Ghana will be out of the World Cup. Similarly, if the other group game between table-toppers Germany and the United States end in a stalemate, both Ghana and Portugal will be booted out of the tournament as well.

If both games end with a winner, two teams in the group will be tied at four points each, which is where things get complicated. The first tiebreaker is goal differential, so the more complicated scenarios revolve around a Ghana victory and a USA defeat since they are the ones in close proximity with regards to goal difference heading into this match.

If Ghana were to win by one goal, and the USA were to lose by one goal, both teams will be tied not only on points but on goal difference as well. The second tiebreaker is goals for, a column where Ghana and the USA could be tied again if Ghana scores one more goal than America in their final games. If the two teams are still tied that deep into the tiebreakers, the United States would advance because they won 2-1 over Ghana in their opening group match.

A Ghana win by at least two goals coupled with a USA defeat will ensure their passage to the next round.

For Portugal, on the other hand, to advance, a variety of factors need to bend their way. First they will hope that the USA loses to Germany (a heavy defeat will help their cause) and then they need to produce a big win over Ghana to improve on their goal difference which was severely hampered by that 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Germany. Their goal difference as of the moment stands at -4 with the USA at +1 and they need to eat up that five goal difference in the final day of matches on June 26 to stand a chance of advancing to the round of 16.

Bottom line: Portugal and Ghana need a win and hope that the USA loses to Germany. Draws in both matches will leave the Portuguese and the Ghanaians out of the tournament. It’s safe to say that the Germans are almost through with their superior goal difference (barring a huge collapse against the USA). The US can manage its own fate by securing at least a point against Germany.

Asamoah Gyan

Betting on Ghana

Given the way Ghana battled the three-time World Cup champs Germany to a 2-2 draw, they have every right to be confident that they can beat Portugal and advance to the next stage of the competition.

[sc:Soccer240banner ]Key to Ghana’s revival after their heart-breaking loss to the United States was Asamoah Gyan’s fine form. The Ghanaian striker, who incidentally eliminated the United States in the 2010 World Cup, produced a fine finish that temporarily gave the Ghanaians a 2-1 lead over Germany in the 63rd minute.

What was most impressive about Ghana’s performance though was the way they defended against the vaunted Germans who had scored four against the Portugese. The Black Stars, knowing full well the artillery at the Germans’ disposal, stuck to a compact 4-3-3 formation wherein they sat deep whenever they lost possession and then exploited the Germans on the counter attack.

They can use this performance as a template in this upcoming all-important tussle with Portugal. With Portugal looking to score goals and lots of them to catch the USA in a possible tiebreak, there will be opportunities for the Africans to blitz them on the counter-attack. Gyan and his fellow veteran Sulley Muntari will be relied on to put up the goals Ghana needs on these breakouts.

With the possibility of goal difference deciding the fates of the teams, it is also key for goalkeeper Fatau Dauda to stop the Portuguese attack which, if their previous games are any indication, will come almost exclusively from Ronaldo and Nani. If Dauda can keep the big Portugese threats at bay, it will go a long way in advancing the Ghanaians’ cause in this tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Betting on Portugal

The odds may be against Portugal to advance to the Round of 16, but with the way they rescued a point against the United States with that last-gasp Varela header, nothing is out of the question just yet.

25 seconds away from joining Spain and England as early high-profile casualties in this World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo’s moment of brilliance injected an adrenaline boost to Portugal’s campaign with that fantastic cross to Silvestre Varela.

Apart from his assist in the final moments of play, this has been a World Cup to forget for Ronaldo, who is coming off a pre-tournament injury. He was mostly anonymous as Portugal succumbed to Germany in a shock 4-0 defeat and labored to get a result against the United States.

If Portugal hopes to defeat Ghana and leapfrog the United States in the team standings, they need the Cristiano Ronaldo that smashed goal records in the recent edition of the Champions League where his 17 goals eventually helped Real Madrid to their 10th Cup.

A welcome boost for the Portuguese outfit will be the return of Pepe to the defensive ranks. One of the best defenders in the game, Pepe missed the game against the U.S. after he headbutted Thomas Muller, and his mind and focus must be in Portugal’s biggest game of the tournament.

Writer’s Prediction:

With both teams going for the win, look for an open and exciting match with Portugal in particular driving the pace en route to a narrow victory – far from enough to advance them to the next round. Create a betting account now if you agree that Portugal will win this final group match.

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Written by Joel

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