THE Confederations Cup continues on Sunday and we asked international football analyst Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) for his thoughts on the Group B concluder between Germany and Cameroon.
Germany v Cameroon | Sunday 16:00 | ITV
Germany still have some work to do to seal a spot in the Confederations Cup semi-finals but a final-four can be secured by beating Cameroon in Sochi.
Cameroon’s prospects appear bleak following a 1-1 draw with Australia followed a 2-0 reverse to Chile in their tournament opener. The Africans require an unlikely three-goal victory to stand a chance of progressing.
Earlier this month, Germany head coach Joachim Low was forced to defend himself against accusations of “making the heart of football fans bleed” by choosing to tackle Germany's Confederations Cup campaign with an inexperienced squad rather than a first-choice roster.
Russia's World Cup organising committee head Alexey Sorokin claimed Low's decision went against the whole idea of a fan attending a football match – to watch the stars.
Low’s unrepentant riposte that “something has to give” when it comes to the workload forced upon the game's best players was fully justifiable whilst the world champions’ performances over the past week will have offered a degree of vindication the boss of the world champions.
Germany’s youthful team battled back from a goal down against Chile in Kazan to collect a vital point. Having been bamboozled by the incessant energy and high-press of the South American champions, Low's players worked out how to stem the red tide by becoming more physical and destructive.
Die Mannschaft wrestled their way back into matters as the half drew on, eventually equalising when managing to dodge the high-press for the first time. A flowing passing move from the back was clinically concluded by Lars Stindl following Jonas Hector’s low cross across the six-yard box.
Out of possession the Germans reverted to a 5-4-1 formation but they never did look entirely comfortable and so there’s certainly scope for Cameroon to get on the scoresheet on Sunday.
Cameroon’s final fling
The African champions fired in 19 efforts at Australia on Thursday night but only managed to force opposition goalkeeper Mat Ryan into three saves. Nevertheless, rapid forward trio of Christian Bassogog, Vincent Aboubakar and Benjamin Moukandjo were a persistent threat.
Hugo Broos’ boys managed a sole on-target effort against Chile in their opener but a more offensively-minded effort is required here. Cameroon have rarely thrilled but they’re an effective counter-attacking unit that’s capable of hurting a vulnerable German backline.
Ultimately though, Germany are likely to prove a class apart and finding ways to support the Europeans is our best avenue of attack.
The betting angles
The 2/1 (888) available for Germany to win and Both Teams To Score is generous but I’m going to play it a little safer by backing Die Mannschaft to be leading at half-time and full-time at 23/20 (Ladbrokes).
Low’s men have a habit of starting fast, breaking the deadlock during the opening 20 minutes in each of their last five meaningful matches. Germany have racked up 14 goals in that five-fixture sample whilst also notching at least twice before the interval in six of their last eight outings.
That latter stat makes the 11/4 (Betfair) on Germany scoring Over 1.5 Goals in the first-half a great value option to gobble up. More conservative punters can pick up 16/11 (Ladbrokes) on Over 1.5 Goals in total being scored in the opening 45 minutes – it’s occurred in seven of Germany’s last 11 games.