With the final round of the World Cup group stage matches being played, we take a closer look at what can happen in Groups C to H (click here for our preview of Groups A and B). All percentages and stats below are courtesy of Betegy.
Group C Predictions
Colombia are already through to the second round thanks to 2 wins from 2 games, and play Japan in the final game. Japan are on 1 point (draw with Greece) and face an uphill task against the group leaders, with only a 19% chance of progression. A Japan win (21%), unlikely as it is, may not be enough to get through to the second group as Ivory Coast, on 3 points, will go through regardless if they beat Greece.
The other two teams – Greece and Ivory Coast – face off in the other Group C game on Tuesday, with the winner almost guaranteed to go through to the second round. Ivory Coast have a 50% chance of progression but Greece are a tough opponent, capable of surprising teams at any stage. Greece have a 26% chance to win their game, but this last game is too close to call.
Group D Predictions
One of the most interesting groups this year, with Costa Rica currently topping the group and cheeky betting favourites to beat England on the 24th.
Costa Rica, if you recall, were predicted to win zero points in this tournament but it’s their opponents England who are in grave danger of doing just that. England have a 40% chance of victory in their game as per statistics, but they can only take you so far. Our money, counter to Betegy’s advice, is on a Costa Rica win.
The other game is a straight shoot-out between who goes through to the knockouts. Italy v Uruguay is a tightly balanced game with Italy marginal favourites (35%) ahead of Uruguay (29%). The kicker here is Italy’s goal-difference – 0 compared to Uruguay’s -1 – which means even a draw will put Italy through.
With a 71% chance of avoiding defeat, Italy are a safe bet to get through the group stages in a crunch match, but Suarez and co. have their tails up and it’s hard to consider they won’t score once or twice.
Definitely the most interesting match of the first four groups so far.
Group E Predictions
France are more or less through but both of the last games will decide which team joins them in the Round of 16. France play Ecuador (3 points, GD 0) and Honduras (0 pts, GD -4) play Switzerland (3 pts, GD -2). Despite their thrashing at the hands of France, Switzerland should be able to beat Honduras. They are (rightly) at 75% to progress from the group stages.
France should also win against Ecuador in a game that will give the former champions the space to freshen things up and build more momentum towards a strong campaign that has seen several European rivals fall at the group stage hurdle.
We expect France and Switzerland to go through, but if Ecuador want to surprise France they’ll need to play a lot better than their first two games, where they’re only in 2nd place thanks to a 2-1 win against Honduras.
Group F Predictions
Argentina are through, and their game against Nigeria only serves to decide the final pecking order in Group F. Iran, despite getting a point off Nigeria and nearly getting a point off Argentina, are not expected to beat Bosnia seeing as they have yet to score a goal this World Cup.
Bosnia are out after the first two games but are still favourites to beat Iran and secure their first ever World Cup win.
Iran need to win by two goals, or need a win and Nigeria to lose by a 2-goal margin in order to go to the knockout stages. It’s hard to predict which is more unlikely – Iran scoring 2 or more against Bosnia, or a strong Nigeria team coming completely unstuck against a less-than-100% Argentina side.
Group G Predictions
Ghana’s strong showing against Germany and Portugal’s late goal against USA threw Group G for a loop. Now, although Germany are almost guaranteed progress – their goal difference means that even a defeat against USA will keep them in second place – the other teams have a lot to play for.
USA, like Germany, are on 4 points and deservedly so. They play Germany in the final game on the 26th, and a draw is enough to take them through. Even a narrow defeat may be enough if Portugal do not blitz Ghana with 4 goals.
The Portugal v Ghana game is a painful one. Ghana’s goal-difference means a win against Portugal coupled with a Germany win could see them go through to the knockouts, while Portugal (and Cristiano Ronaldo) will be hoping that, just once, they can do more than chase a losing cause.
We’re backing Ghana to beat Portugal, which can have all sorts of interesting ramifications for USA, who are unlikely to beat Germany but could squeeze a point out of a side notorious for getting complacent.
Group H Predictions
Belgium are through courtesy of two tight wins, and Algeria are in second place with 3 points courtesy of a fantastic showing against the out-of-depth South Koreans.
It’s Algeria v Russia in the final game of the group stages and it’s the deciding game. Russia are the stronger side on paper but were unable to beat Korea, and Algeria’s strong showing in the previous game puts them ahead in our book.
A draw is enough for Algeria to qualify but we’re backing an Algeria win – which would be a deserving result for a team that’s played exceptionally well in the tournament so far.
What are your predictions for the final round of World Cup group stage games?