Monday's action is difficult to call at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with Group F, and arguably the toughest of the lot—Group G—getting their openers out of the way.
Portugal and Germany is the headline fixture, but Ghana's clash with the USA should also be mightily tight while Iran and Nigeria are very similarly matched.
Here are the fixtures and match odds for Monday:
|5 p.m. BST, noon ET||Germany vs. Portugal||2-2|
|8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET||Iran vs. Nigeria||0-1|
|11 p.m. BST, 6 p.m. ET||Ghana vs. USA||1-2|
Certainly for the USA and Ghana, Monday's clash is a must-win game. Portugal and Germany are favourites to advance from the group, so anything less than victory for the two underdog nations would surely leave them needing positive results against two of Europe's super powers.
Equally, if Nigeria want to win the inevitable race for second place in Group F behind Argentina, they will need to claim three points against Iran.
Here are the current standings for the two groups involved in Monday's action:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0||0||1||0|
Go For a Draw Between Germany and Portugal
The bookies make Germany the favourites to beat Portugal in one of the best matchups of the group stages.
However, 13-5 odds for the draw looks like a good punt, especially as Cristiano Ronaldo has declared himself to be completely ready for the match in Salvador at the Arena Fonte Nova, per the Daily Mail:
The current holder of the Ballon d'Or had quite a season in 2013-14, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and breaking a tournament record in the process, per Opta:
16 - Cristiano Ronaldo’s 16 goals in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign is a record. Monster.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 24, 2014
If he can produce that type of form in Brazil, Portugal will prove a tough team to beat, and even with the impressive talents of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Philipp Lahm, Germany will have to focus on containing the 29-year-old.
Both sides should qualify for the knockout rounds as they will likely beat the USA and Ghana. But Uruguay's shock loss to Costa Rica should act as a warning, and an early loss for either side on Monday will only heighten nerves.
Though there are likely to be goals, a draw looks a real possibility in a match between two high-quality sides who would be happy to escape this fixture without defeat.
Prediction: Germany 2-2 Portugal
USA Win Looks Good Value
While Ghana are favourites to win the other Group G match at 3-2, the US team look impressive and are certainly worth a bet at 21-10.
Will the USA beat Ghana?
These two sides have met twice in the last two World Cups—in the last 16 in 2010 and the group stages in 2006—and on both occasions, Ghana have prevailed.
However, USA look in good form coming into this tournament, having beaten Nigeria, Turkey and Azerbaijan in their warm-up matches.
As BT Sport's Ian Darke pointed out, striker Jozy Altidore returned to goalscoring form with a brace against Nigeria, and the US team have quality throughout:
Pleased for Jozy Altidore to get back on goal trail. Timely confidence boost. Outstanding displays from Bradley and Johnson in USA win.— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) June 8, 2014
As for Nigeria, they will need to perform better than they did against Jurgen Klinsmann's side prior to the tournament, but there is no looking past them to win at 10-11 against Iran.
A superior-looking outfit to their opponents, Nigeria should certainly get an opening win under their belts as they aim to reach the knockout stages ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Prediction: USA 2-1 Ghana, Nigeria 1-0 Iran