FIFA World Cup

World Cup Groups 2014: Updated Standings, Odds and Predictions for Day 15

Germany's Benedikt Hoewedes celebrates after his teammate Miroslav Klose scored a goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Ghana at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014.  (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press
Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2014

Two full weeks of the 2014 World Cup have provided fans with a little bit of everything—incredible goals, shocking upsets and outstanding individual performances. With group play winding down, the drama and excellent play is only going to go up from here. 

That uptick in intensity should be on full display on Day 15. Both Group G and Group H will take center stage with advancement on the line. 

Here's a look at the full schedule for the day:

2014 World Cup Day 15 Schedule
Team 1Team 2Time (ET)TV
GermanyUSA12:00 p.m.ESPN
PortugalGhana12:00 p.m.ESPN2
Korea RepublicBelgium4:00 p.m.ESPN
AlgeriaRussia4:00 p.m.ESPN2
FIFA.com

Group G figures to be the most intriguing. All four sides remain in the hunt for a knockout-round berth and the sense of urgency each team exudes should reflect that. Here's a look at the latest group standings followed by predictions and odds for all the matches set for Day 15:

2014 World Cup Group Tables
TeamPWDLGDPts.
Group A
Brazil321057
Mexico321047
Croatia310203
Cameroon3003-80
Group B
Netherlands330079
Chile320126
Spain3102-33
Australia3003-60
Group C
Colombia330079
Greece3111-24
Ivory Coast3102-13
Japan3012-41
Group D
Costa Rica321037
Uruguay320106
Italy3102-13
England3012-21
Group E
France320066
Switzerland320116
Ecuador311103
Honduras3002-40
Group F
Argentina330026
Nigeria311114
Bosnia-Herzegovina310203
Iran3012-31
Group G
Germany211044
United States211014
Ghana2011-11
Portugal2011-41
Group H
Belgium220026
Algeria210113
Russia2011-11
South Korea2010-21
FIFA.com

 

United States vs. Germany

Themba Hadebe/Associated Press
Germany vs. United States Odds
ResultOdds
Germany-173
United States+1066
Draw+233
OddsShark.com

This match was a Silvestre Varela header away from being extremely anticlimactic. Had the United States side pulled off a 2-1 victory over Portugal, the Stars and Stripes would already be planning for the knockout round. 

Unfortunately, American fans can't celebrate just yet. The most likely scenario is that both sides in this match advance. ESPN's Numbers Never Lie provides the specifics, but this is going to be a well-contested match. 

As the odds suggest, Germany is a heavy favorite to win the match. Especially because the United States will be missing a key player from their attack. ESPN FC reports that Jozy Altidore will once again be unfit to play, as was the case against Portugal:

Still, fans can expect both sides to be going for the win here. Although a draw would put both clubs into the next stage, United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann has assured fans there will not be a prearranged draw on Thursday, per USA Today:

Prearranged or not, there's a strong chance this match ends in a draw. Both sides will be looking to put their best foot forward, but with both sides playing Ghana and Portugal to draws in their recent matches, it just might happen again. 

Prediction: 1-1 Draw

 

Ghana vs. Portugal

June 17, 2014; Fortazela, BRAZIL; Ghana player Asamoah Gyan and Germany player Mats Hummels battle for the ball during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio Castelao.  Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Ghana vs. Portugal Odds
ResultOdds
Ghana+234
Portugal+112
Draw+304
OddsShark.com

A draw for the United States and Germany would officially put both Ghana and Portugal out of the running for advancement. But with both matches kicking off at the same time, you can be sure that thought won't enter either of the sides' minds. 

After an abysmal opener against Germany, Portugal find itself in the most difficult position. The European side not only has to win to have a chance at advancing, but they would also need to make up a five-goal differential between themselves and a losing United States side. 

Ghana, however, finds themselves with a much easier task. The Black Stars still have to win, but they only have a two-goal differential to make up should the United States lose to Germany. Also, it should improve team morale that the squad convinced the government to pay their appearance fees up front, per Bleacher Report UK:

Given their admirable effort against the Germans in their 2-2 draw, expect them to make one final push to get into the knockout round.

Prediction: 2-1 Ghana

 

South Korea vs. Belgium

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 22:  Eden Hazard of Belgium (L) acknowledges the fans after a 1-0 victory in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana on June 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Belgium vs. South Korea Odds
ResultOdds
Belgium-140
South Korea+445
Draw+296
OddsShark.com

Group H will conclude group play for this incarnation of the World Cup and once again, all four sides have a shot at advancing. 

Belgium has already secured a spot in the knockout stage. All the European side is left to do now is win the group. That objective can be completed with a win or draw against South Korea in this match or a loss and a win from Russia against Algeria. 

Looking at what both sides have done in the tournament, it's more likely they clinch the group on their own. As the Playoff Guru points out, Asian sides have not had the best of luck in this year's World Cup:

Meanwhile, Belgium look like the only nation capable of doing damage in the knockout round. They've won the first two matches and will be looking to make a clean sweep.

Prediction: 3-0 Belgium

 

Algeria vs. Russia

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 22:  Algeria celebrate after defeating South Korea 4-2 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between South Korea and Algeria at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 22, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Get
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Russia vs. Algeria Odds
ResultOdds
Russia +105
Algeria +277
Draw+277
OddsShark.com

If Belgium gets the result that nearly everyone expects, Algeria vs. Russia will be a true play-in match. The winner will be headed to the knockout-stage regardless of goal differentials and other tiebreakers. 

That bodes well for Russia, who will enter the match as Vegas' favorite to come out on top. However, it's Algeria who has actually looked better on the pitch. 

The African side has looked impressive in the attacking third and put four goals on South Korea after losing to Belgium by just one goal. 

If Russia is to cash in on that favored status and advance to the next round, they'll need to turn things around quickly. 

Prediction: 2-1 Algeria

 

All odds via OddsShark.com.

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