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Current Form - Group E-H
Group A-D

In this piece, we’re breaking down each group in much more detail, going through the final stage of qualification for each team initially, breaking down their last 10 games (thru June 6) on the pitch overall followed by some qualitative analysis on recent form & perhaps what we can expect from a gambling angle.

Each group will have 3 pieces:

1 - Final stage of qualification results
2 - Last 10 match results
3 - Analysis

Before analyzing each group, please note the qualification comments on the two teams below:

Group E
France: Won playoff vs. Ukraine for bid. 2-0 loss at Ukraine, 3-0 win at home (aggregate 3-2)

Group G
Portugal: Won playoff vs. Sweden for bid. 1-0 win at home, 3-2 win at Sweden (aggregate 4-2)
Group E
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
SWITZERLAND 6 UEFA 7 0 3 17 1.70 0.60 1.10 68.00 18
ECUADOR 26 CONMEBOL 7 5 4 20 1.25 1.00 0.25 29.50 1
FRANCE 17 UEFA 5 1 2 15 1.88 0.75 1.13 60.00 14
HONDURAS 33 CONCACAF 4 3 3 13 1.30 1.20 0.10 34.60 6
Group E
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
SWITZERLAND 6 UEFA 7 1 2 17 9 8
ECUADOR 26 CONMEBOL 2 3 5 13 15 (2)
FRANCE 17 UEFA 6 1 3 23 5 18
HONDURAS 33 CONCACAF 3 4 3 14 22 (8)
Analysis - Group E

Switzerland: Enter competition with just one loss over their last 10 games, but they have just faced three fellow World Cup teams going 1-1-1 beating Brazil, tying Croatia & losing at South Korea. They have scored in each of their last 10gms while subsequently keeping six clean sheets. Decent track record at World Cup, will be in the mix for certain - who wouldn't be beating Brazil recently?

Ecuador: La Tri is one of six World Cup teams who have a negative goal differential over their last 10 games (the 2nd in their group). Over their last five they have gone 1-1-3 vs. 5 World Cup teams beating Australia, losing to Mexico while tying England, Netherlands & Honduras - hard to get a solid feel on this team obviously. Goals are plentiful in their games as they have played just one 0-0 draw since 7/3/11! Expect wide open play and a lively underdog here - in this questionable group Ecuador, especially playing on their home continent has a legitimate chance to reach the knockout stage for the 1st time since 2006.

France: France remains a defensive juggernaut holding clean sheets in seven of their last 10 outings although just three of those have come against World Cup teams, one of which was a 6-0 win over Australia. In their last six home games they went 5-0-1, outscoring opponents 18-1; in six road games they are just 1-3-2 getting outscored 4-8 (all four of their goals scored came in a win at Belarus on 9/10/13). Goal scoring will be a concern, defense will not so under plays seem to hold value with the French.

Honduras: Just three wins over their last 10 all by 1 goal over Venezuela, Costa Rica and Mexico. Have allowed two or more goals in seven of last 10 games while scoring two goals in six of last 10. No question the biggest longshot of group, difficult to envision many scenarios where they reach knockout stage.
Group F
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
ARGENTINA 5 CONMEBOL 9 2 5 35 2.19 0.94 1.25 32.13 5
BOS & HERZ 21 UEFA 8 1 1 30 3.00 0.60 2.40 87.60 27
IRAN 43 AFC 5 2 1 8 1.00 0.25 0.75 85.25 26
NIGERIA 44 CAF VS. ETHIOPIA 2.00 0.50 1.50 107.00 31
Group F
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
ARGENTINA 5 CONMEBOL 5 1 4 19 8 11
BOS & HERZ 21 UEFA 6 4 0 18 12 6
IRAN 43 AFC 6 1 3 19 7 12
NIGERIA 44 CAF 5 1 4 17 11 6
Analysis - Group F

Argentina: Lone loss over last 10 came at Uruguay (2-3) on 10/15/13. Six of last 10 have come against fellow World Cup squads including a 2-1 win at Italy last summer. Struggled some over their last three going just 1-0-2 with scoring margin 2-0. Still clear favorite in relatively weak group.

Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Head into this one winning their last two vs. fellow World Cup squads beating Ivory Coast 2-1 and Mexico 1-0. They have virtually no history in the World Cup and not many trends to follow based on recent competition leaves them squarely in the mix to grab that 2nd spot to the knockout round.

Iran: Despite record to left and goal differential they head into this competition in very poor form drawing three straight vs. Angola, Montenegro and Belarus (1-1 aggregate) which followed a home loss to Guinea (1-2). Iran has only faced one World Cup team, South Korea, who they beat 1-0 way back on 6/18/13. This country is the clear longshot in the group, and frankly doesn't seem to have much of a chance.

Nigeria: Has played four draws over their last five, three of which were 0-0. All three of those 0-0 draws came against fellow World Cup teams (Ghana, Mexico, Greece), which were the only three WC teams they faced. Nigeria will be competitive in this group, battling Bosnia for that 2nd bid to the knockout stage.
Group G
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
GERMANY 2 UEFA 9 0 1 36 3.60 1.00 2.60 87.80 28
PORTUGAL 4 UEFA 6 1 3 20 2.00 0.90 1.10 77.20 23
GHANA 37 CAF VS. EGYPT 3.50 1.50 2.00 36.00 8
USA 13 CONCACAF 7 2 1 15 1.50 0.80 0.70 38.60 11
Group G
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
GERMANY 2 UEFA 6 0 4 22 9 13
PORTUGAL 4 UEFA 6 1 3 20 10 10
GHANA 37 CAF 4 3 3 6 5 1
USA 13 CONCACAF 6 2 2 15 8 7
Analysis - Group G

Germany: The Germans head into the World Cup as the only unbeaten team over their last 10 matches. Four of their last five have come against fellow World Cup squads & they have gone 2-0-2 beating England and Chile 1-0, while tying Italy and Cameroon. With Germany having reached at least the semifinals in the last three World Cups, but having not won the title since 1990 they enter in top form and are amongst the short list of favorites.

Portugal: Portugal has faced very strong competition over their last 10 with five coming against fellow World Cup teams including Brazil and Netherlands and another two vs. Sweden in a UEFA home & home playoff for a bid. They have not lost a game since 9/10/13 vs. Brazil in Massachusetts while allowing more than one goal just once since that game (3-2 win at Sweden 11/19/13). Ronaldo has been playing very well in qualification & Champions league, thus Portugal will be seeking just their 2nd appearance past the round of 16 since 1994 - but it has a tough group to overcome.

Ghana: As evidenced by recent form Ghana really struggles to score goals, but does play solid defense. Their schedule in qualification and of late is not top notch as they have only faced two fellow World Cup teams over their last 10 (0-0 vs. Nigeria, 0-1 loss to Netherlands), but their defense held up well against the high powered Dutch on the road. Ghana has not scored more than one goal since a 6-1 win over Egypt on 10/15/13 which could be a big concern especially in this group. Expect low-scoring games when Ghana is involved, but it’s unlikely they will score enough to reach knockout stage.

United States: This may be the best USA squad to ever enter the World Cup, but recent comments by head coach Klinsman leave many scratching their heads about what to expect from the Red, White & Blue this time around. Outside of Mexico, whom they have dominated over the last decade plus, they faced just one World Cup team over their last 10, a 2-0 win over lower tier South Korea. Offense doesn't appear to be an issue, but they have struggled defensively against teams that are legitimate challengers especially from UEFA. Most likely over bets will be solid and getting thre points from Ghana/Portugal games will be critical to reach the knockout stage for the 3rd time in 4 World Cups.
Group H
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
BELGIUM 11 UEFA 8 0 2 18 1.80 0.40 1.40 39.20 12
ALGERIA 22 CAF VS. BURKINA FASO 1.50 1.50 0.00 60.00 14
RUSSIA 19 UEFA 7 2 1 20 2.00 0.50 1.50 74.20 21
SOUTH KOREA 57 AFC 4 2 2 13 1.63 0.88 0.75 81.75 24
Group H
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
BELGIUM 11 UEFA 5 2 3 16 11 5
ALGERIA 22 CAF 8 1 1 19 8 11
RUSSIA 19 UEFA 6 1 3 19 7 12
SOUTH KOREA 57 AFC 4 6 0 10 15 (5)
Analysis - Group H

Belgium: Belgium is a popular sleeper selection this year but the numbers don't really support that. Of their last 10 games, five have come against fellow World Cup teams and they have gone 1-2-2 beating Croatia 2-1 on road, losing to Colombia and Japan while tying France and Ivory Coast. Outside of a 5-1 win over Luxembourg on 5/26/14 they have just a +1 goal differential over their last 10. They only held one clean sheet in the five vs. World Cup teams we just mentioned, and allowed 2+ goals in four of those games. The group does them a favor not being too strong.

Algeria: Algeria, with eight wins over their last 10 games (2nd to Brazil’s 9), heads into this competition with confidence despite not facing many strong clubs. In fact, Algeria has not faced another World Cup team since a 1/30/13 tie vs. Ivory Coast! They can score goals as evidenced by not being shutout once since 1/26/13 vs. Togo; combine that with the lack of competition & overs are probably strong plays in their games. No question Algeria is the longest shot to advance to the knockout stage from group h

Russia: Russia is a very solid, not talked about often club as they head into the World Cup with just one loss over their last 10 games, which was 10 games ago at Northern Ireland (0-1). Since then they have dominated their opponents scoring in all nine games, while holding three clean sheets defensively and not allowing more than one goal in any game - matter of fact they have not allowed more than one goal since 11/14/12 vs. USA. Their competition has not been truly top notch, but this will be a hungry team since they have never advanced past the group stage.

South Korea: Surprisingly South Korea has advanced to the knockout stage in two of the last three World Cups; this time around, even in a weak group, it will be a clear uphill battle as they, along with Algeria, are the two longest shots of Group H. They are one of just three teams (Brazil, Bosnia) to not have a draw over their last 10 games - but they also have six losses, the most of any World Cup team. In 2014 they have beaten a pair of World Cup teams in Costa Rica and Greece (in Athens), and they have not had a 0-0 draw since summer of 2013 - lean on overs in their games for certain. Can South Korea surprise again? It's likely they will need 3 points against either Belgium or Russia to do so - they recently dropped a 2-1 decision vs. Russia on 11/19/13.

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