Two of the pre-tournament favourites clash in this mouth-watering class as Germany and Chile go head-to-head, a place at the head of the table on offer. With neither team really shining in their opening games, both will be eager to put down a marker for the rest of the competition.
Wieners frying and a glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon chilling, we preview what could be a potentially exhilarating match and suggest a couple of tips that really could rip the back of the net! Result!
GERMANY v CHILE
Thursday 22nd June | 19:00 | Kazan Arena, Russia
As we mentioned above, this tie has the possibility of being a real treat, as the two strongest teams in the group clash. Heavily fancied by yours truely before a ball was kicked in anger, they both failed to impress in their own way in the first matches... Germany, the world champions (and it doesn't matter that this is a 'shadow' squad) were pegged back by an industrious and hard-working Australian team, eventually prevailing 3-2, but not before being made to work for it. Chile, for all their flair and intent, were equally pushed by Cameroon, a country going through a real transitional stage themselves. True, La Roja scored twice in the last nine minutes to save any red faces, but head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi will expect a lot more from his charges. The Chilean coach is taking this tournament very seriously indeed, with their third major trophy in as many summers on the line.
By leaving an 'injured' Sanchez on the bench to begin with, Pizzi was able to gauge the depth of competition and manage the Arsenal man's game time. We all know that Sanchez is invariably in the thick of things and it was his introduction that sparked Chile into life against Cameroon. Vargas, Chile's most prolific player seems to thrive when their talisman is on the pitch and the pair represent Chile's most potent attacking force. La Roha will need them firing in tandem if Chile are to overcome, albeit an experimental, Germany side.
Speaking of Germany, Joachim Löw is obviously looking at some of his younger squad members and giving them a real taste of tournament football, with Russia 2018 on the horizon. A lot is made of the strength in depth of the France and Spain squads, but Low's Germany shouldn't be overlooked. Okay, his youngesters may not have the finesse of their continental cousins, and there have been signs of weaknesses amongst the squad, especially at the back, but the class of 2017 seem to be quick learners, and their need to be with Sanchez and Vargas on the prowl.
Indeed, when considering that inexperience the loss of Leipzig midfielder Diego Demme with a backminjury could be a blessing in disguise for Low, who may bring in the versatile Liverpool midfielder Emre Can to add his experience and weight in midfield.
What We Sayin’?
We can see this being a really interesting game, with both teams hunting the win. Vargas has 34 goals i n 73 games, so backing him to score first at 19/4 appeals. With that attacking intent BTTS at 4/7 seems cast in stone, whilst BTTS/Chile win is 7/2.
BTTS and Chile win, you say? Well, yes. As mentione, La Roja are hunting their third major trophy and have a far more settled side than the Germans. Four of their squad have 100+ caps. When you compare that against the youth and inexperience of a germany team with just two players boasting more than 20+ caps the added nous should prevail. They won't have it all their own way, But Chile 1-2 (17/2) and 1-3 (18/1) both appeal.*
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