Alexis Sanchez scored his 38th goal for his country against Germany in the FIFA Confederations Cup, becoming Chile’s all-time top goalscorer. The 1-1 draw on Thursday evening between the two heavyweights of group B at the summer tournament leaves both on the cusp of qualifying for the semi finals in Russia.
Chile face Australia on Sunday while Germany play Cameroon. Those two sides also engaged in a 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening, a result which did little to improve either’s chances of getting out of a tough section. Australia and Cameroon now sit joint-bottom with one point, and would need to overturn the big guns to have any hope of reaching the last four.
The other group in Russia is a little more open in terms of qualification, with only New Zealand out of the reckoning after the Kiwis were beaten by both Mexico and Russia. The hosts are still in with a chance of getting through as they sit on three points, just behind Mexico and Portugal who share the top spots with four points. Those two battled out a 2-2 draw in the opening group game, before Mexico went on to beat New Zealand and Portugal secured a 1-0 win over Russia courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s early goal.
It’s all to play for over the weekend, and both Germany and Chile are expected to get the job done in group B.
Chile v Australia
Chile are a best price of -250 with Winner Sports and while it won’t make anyone rich, it’s hard to see past Sanchez and co. booking a place in the semi final.
The Copa America winners are clearly taking the competition seriously – Vidal, Vargas and Sanchez have already been on the scoresheet in Russia. Australia managed two goals against Germany without ever really looking like taking something from the game, and needed a second half penalty to draw level and snatch a point.
The World Football Elo Ratings, which my colleague here at Sports Betting Online insists are a much better indicator than FIFA rankings, list Chile as the 5th best team in the world, with Australia back in 36th place. This is clearly a mismatch and although a draw would be enough to see Chile through, one suspects they will take no chances.
The Aussies have only managed two clean sheets in the last ten games, both against the United Arab Emirates in World Cup qualifiers. The last time they played Chile was at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a game which ended 3-1 to the South Americans, both Sanchez and Cahill on the scoresheet.
Chile, well known for their attacking football, have scored in each of their last ten matches. It would be quite a surprise if they failed to find the net against the Australian team, and this ought to be a comfortable three points.
Germany v Cameroon
As mentioned before, Joachim Low has given many of his top players the summer off and taken an inexperienced squad to this competition. It hasn’t proved to be too much of a problem though, as they saw off Australia 3-2 in the opening game and followed up with that 1-1 draw versus Chile. Monchengladbach’s Stindl has been on the scoresheet in both games, and will have done himself no harm in the quest to secure a place in next year’s World Cup squad.
Cameroon won the Cup of African Nations but have come up a little bit short in this tournament so far. They held their own against Chile for 80 minutes but succumbed to two late goals in the last ten. The African side did take the lead against Australia in the first half of their 1-1 draw and were on top for much of the game, arguably unfortunate not to take all three points.
This is a tougher assignment against Germany though, not least because they need to win whereas the Germans do not. That again could play into to German hands who will be able to counter more effectively as Cameroon commit men forward in chasing the game.
Mexico v Russia
Finally, the odds of +145 with Bet365 about Mexico beating the hosts are tempting enough to have a dabble.
If this game were being played somewhere else one suspects Mexico would be a lot shorter at the odds. Home advantage will definitely be a boost for Russia, and with a win they could secure a spot in the last four at the expense of Mexico. However, it might not be clever to read too much into the opening 2-0 win against New Zealand, who are the lowest ranked team in the competition. The 1-0 defeat to Portugal was not as close as it looks on paper, as Ronaldo netted in the 8th minute and Russia failed to have a shot on target throughout the whole match.
Mexico have a decent squad with plenty of quality and should be too good for Russia. A point would see them through, but at the prices it’s worth a small wager on the win.
Chile to beat Australia
Sunday 25th June, 16:00 GMT
Germany to beat Cameroon
Sunday 25th June, 16:00 GMT
Mexico to beat Russia
Saturday 24th June, 16:00 GMT