Has a month of top-level football slipped by already? Arguably the most exciting, gripping and at times unpredictable World Cup in history reaches its denouement in Rio’s magnificent Maracana Stadium on Sunday evening when Germany face Argentina for the right to be crowned world champions.
Bookmakers believe the accolade will ultimately belong to Joachim Low’s troops, BetVictor pricing them at 11/8 to win inside 90 minutes and at 8/11 to lift the trophy. Twice winners Argentina, who endured a considerably more difficult passage to the final, are offered at 5/2 by bet365 to prevail in normal time and at 6/5 (Stan James) to eventually hold the world cup aloft. Doing so in their bitterest rivals’ back yard would be the icing on their cake.
Not surprisingly, the draw, available at 9/4 with Paddy Power, has proved initially popular with punters mindful that, Germany’s annihilation of Brazil aside, the tournament’s knockout stages have been much closer than the group phase. Punters have also taken advantage of the 7/2 quoted by betway for the match to be level at 45 and at 90 minutes and the fact that Stan James chalk an odds-on price (20/21) about the opening half ending with honours even suggests that few backers anticipate a goalfest.
Such thinking is widespread. Die Mannschaft may have knocked in seven against Brazil on Tuesday, but frankly, that had much more to do with the host’s poor defending, at times reminiscent of a Sunday morning pub team. La Albiceleste, who have kept four clean sheets in their last five matches, will provide much sterner opponents: they’re 2/1 (Winner.com) to keep the Germans out for 90 minutes.
Predictably, the two best-supported outcomes in the correct score market are 1-1 and 0-0, priced at 11/2 and 13/2 respectively by BetVictor (both results are covered in one wager by betway at 11/4). Bet365’s 4/1 for it to finish as a score draw has also found favour and William Hill rate the chances of the opening 45 minutes finishing goalless as a 5/4 shot.
Elsewhere, with a close affair likely, bet365 post an attractive-looking 11/1 against Germany winning in extra time, also quoting Alejandro Sabello’s men at 14/1 in the same market and though it may be a less-than-ideal method of settling the world’s largest sporting tournament, Skybet’s 4/1 about either side winning on penalties catches the eye.
Meanwhile, punters will find few surprises at the head of the first scorer market, Stan James installing Argentina’s Lionel Messi as a 9/2 favourite to break the deadlock and Ladbrokes making Thomas Muller, who started the German rout against Brazil, at 6/1.