Germany odds on to beat Croatia

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They were excellent on both attack and defence, appeared focussed and in control at all times and kept their mistakes to a minimum.

Croatia were worthy, but not entirely convincing, 1-0 winners against Austria. The Croatians looked threatening on attack in the first half and then showed defensive quality to keep Austria from scoring in the final quarter of the match.

However, although Croatia soaked up the pressure from Austria, they allowed them too much possession. If they were unable to take the ball away from the 92nd-ranked team in the world for long periods of time, one fancies they will struggle to do so against Germany, the on-form fifth-ranked team.

Also, if Croatia really were contenders to win Group B, they would surely have played with more confidence against Austria, who are the weakest side in the competition.

Nevertheless, Croatia are ranked 15th at the moment, which is proof enough of their strength. They are very likely to be all the better for having completed their first match of the tournament and will be buoyed by the result they achieved.

This means Germany are unlikely to pick up an easy victory.

These two nations have played against each other seven times before, with Germany winning five times, Croatia once and one match ending in a draw. The last time they met was in February 2004, with Germany winning 2-1.

Croatia’s victory was in the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals in France. Croatia coach Slaven Bilic played in that 3-0 winning team with current squad member Dario Simic.

Two years before that, Germany beat Croatia 2-1 in the quarter-finals of Euro 1996, en-route to winning the tournament. Bilic was also in that Croatia team. Prediction: Croatia 0-1 Germany

Match odds 8/10 Germany 9/4 Draw 11/2 Croatia

Betting verdict Sportingweb usually avoids odds-on bets because, for most of us, the potential return is not good enough to justify a wager. However, with Germany on form and Croatia perhaps not at their best, Germany do seem to be the likely winners of this match, so a small bet is suggested at 8/10.

Those who dislike the odds could add the Germany win to a multiple, perhaps in a double with their selection for the Austria-Poland match.

This article was first published on sports betting news site Sportingweb (www.sportingweb.co.za).

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