Germany vs. Japan
Saturday, July 9th 2011, 20.45 CET
The second quarter final game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 brings together Germany, the winners of Group A and hosts of the tournament, and Japan, runners-up of Group B. The game in Wolfsburg is maybe Japan’s last chance to obtain their first-ever victory against an European side at any edition of the Women’s World Cup. And not just any European side, but the defenders of the 2007 World Cup title! Their latest encounter at an official women’s football match was duing the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, in a match won by Germany 2-0, bringing them the bronze medal.
The two sides look strong ahead of tomorrow’s game, although Germany is arguably in a better shape than Japan. They’re impressive 2-4 victory against France on Tuesday has given the German girls huge momentum and more support than even from their home-based fans. The game, so far the highest-scoring game of the Women’s World Cup 2011, has definitely made up for Germany’s two modest victories against Canada and Nigeria.
Some argue that we shouldn’t focus too much on that result, given that France played in 10 players for over 25 minutes. The same people identify some problems in the German team, which changed a lot since their glory days back in 2007. The-then goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who finished the tournament in Beijing with a clean sheet, already conceded 3 goals and she’s shown some vulerabilities already. Her team mate in both tournaments, Birgit Prinz, who is also the highest-scoring player of the all-time Women’s World Cup (14 goals up to date), hasn’t shown much in this year’s edition. Although she plans to retire after this tournament, Prinz doesn’t expect to play from the beginning against Japan. “There is no reason to change anything in the attack” she says. Indeed, the attack has been doing well so far, and unless the Germans underestimate the Japanese and allow them too much of their (much-desired) possession, they have a good chance of going into the semis.
Japan, on the other hand, is clearly the underdog in this game. Although they’ve shown great teamwork and aggressive attacking in their first two matches, they come after a 2-0 loss to England, which put them in the runner-up position of Group B and cast a shadow over their modd and previous victories. The Nadeshiko showed their full potential against Mexico, winning that game 4-0. However, the British showed them just how vulnerable the open spaces in their defense were, and threw them off the leader’s seat last Tuesday. But for Japan, as its culture dictates, that was a learning opportunity, and it is unlikely that it happens again against Germany. Even Bajramaj, the German scoring both goals of their last match with Japan, said that the Japanese developed a lot since their last encounter, and that they’re clearly superior to the French.
This quarter final brings together two teams with a huge apetite for goals. Germany scored 7 so far and conceded 3, while Japan scored 6 and conceded 3. My prediction is that this game will go beyond the 3.5 goals mark in Germany’s favour. Bwin is offering 2.6 odds for o3.5 goals, and 1.3 for a German victory. I am taking these two football bets, but I’m going a step forward. Aside from a 2-unit bet on o3.5 and a 2-unit bet on Germany to win, I’m staking one unit on a score of more than 4 goals, at 4.75 odds! I would definitely recommend the first two bets, but for the last one, I would suggest not staking too much money. Fingers crossed, and let the game begin!
Prediction: Germany to win for 2 units, o3.5 for 2 units, o4.5 for 1 unit