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Portugal vs. USA – World Cup 2014 – Group G Predictions and Betting Preview for June 22, 2014

Portugal vs. USA – World Cup 2014 – Group G Predictions and Betting Preview for June 22, 2014

After a stirring 2-1 win in their opening match against Ghana, the USA can just about guarantee a spot in the World Cup Round of 16 by beating a Portugal team still reeling from their 4-0 thrashing against Germany.

The Portuguese have been rocked by injuries and suspensions to some key players, but the Americans have issues of their own, including an injury to one of their five key World Cup players.

This is the game that will likely define the tournament for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Create a betting account now to get into all the World Cup action and cash in on what has been an tremendous tournament thus far.

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

Where: Arena Amazonia, Manaus, Brazil

When: June 22, 6:00 PM ET

Line: Portugal -147 at USA +315, tie +265; total 2.5 – view all World Cup lines

Betting on Portugal

Portugal’s 4-0 implosion at the hands of Germany was the definition of adding insult to injury. Not only did the Portuguese lose central defender Pepe for a senseless red card, they also lost striker Hugo Almeida and defender Fabio Coentrao to apparent muscle injuries.

[sc:Soccer240banner ]With Pepe suspended and the injured duo almost certain to miss the match against the United States, manager Paulo Bento will have some major reshuffling to do to his starting lineup.

Bento will likely go with 26-year old Eder to start in place of Almeida. Although he’s still scoreless in ten career international appearances, his speed and willingness to chase after balls will keep the American defenders occupied.

Almeida’s injury only makes the burden on Cristiano Ronaldo to supply Portugal’s goals that much heavier. Ronaldo played through all 90 minutes, but his relatively subdued performance suggests that he’s still not 100% recovered from the injuries he’s been dealing with.

Fit or not, Ronaldo will need to have a better showing against the US, especially if Portugal’s defense has another catastrophic outing. They’ll already be without half of their first-choice back four, while the other half (including goalkeeper Rui Patricio) were all very poor against Germany.

Cristiano+Ronaldo+Germany+v+Portugal

Betting on the USA

The USA finally ended its losing skid against Ghana as it started its World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win. However, that win came at a price. Just like their next opponents, Portugal, the USA will likely have to contend with the loss of two key players – one up front and another at the back – as striker Jozy Altidore and defender Matt Besler were both withdrawn for what looked like hamstring injuries.

Besler could be a tough loss at the back, but their defense did stand strong against Ghana’s second half assault without him. Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones were outstanding with their defending from midfield, while his replacement John Brooks scored the winning goal. Besler, while important, isn’t irreplaceable.

The same may not be said about Altidore. The American attack doesn’t have anyone else to replace his ability to hold the ball up, keep possession and alleviate the pressure on their defense. He had scored once and nearly twice when he pulled up lame against Ghana, and the lack of punch could mean the U.S. face more one-way traffic against Portugal.

Like Ronaldo, Clint Dempsey will have the responsibility of propping up his team’s offense. Dempsey scored the fastest goal of the World Cup thus far, and given Portugal’s defensive issues, could have a couple of chances to get another one.

Writer’s Prediction

The US won’t fully capitalize on Portugal’s struggling defense without Altidore while its defense sufficiently handles a hobbled Ronaldo on the way to a draw.

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Brad
Written by Brad

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