James Moore: Losing Streak (07/07/10)

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The Independent Online

Today's bets: Klose to score first against Spain at 13-2. Podolski to score first at 8-1

It's time we got over our silly hang-ups and learnt to love the German side, which has, if you think about it, lit up what would have been a rather dull World Cup without them.

This is a team, remember, that has scored four goals on three occasions in this tournament. Just stop and think about that – four goals on three occasions. The Germans are diverse, multiracial – featuring players of Turkish, Polish and even Brazilian extraction – and can hit you from all over the place. They don't just rely on one player (I'm looking at you, Spain and David Villa), far from it. Yes, they knocked England out and there was the goal that never was and not a little cynicism from their goalkeeper. Blah, blah, blah.

For those laying that one down, do you really think this England side could have beaten them if the goal had been allowed? Really, in all honesty? They played us off the park and would have taken us on penalties if it had come to that. Really, deep down, we all know it. It's time we grew up, and learnt to enjoy watching a real football team. Anyway, their fans are cute.

Which begs the question, why aren't they favourites against Spain? It seems that the experts keep coming up with reasons why the Germans will get beaten. Yes there was that little incident against Serbia, but, if you'll recall, Spain had a little incident of their own against Switzerland. The defensive questions raised about Germany, thanks to a couple of minutes of madness against England, were rather firmly answered against Maradona, Messi & Co. Spain, on the other hand, have been looking like a bit of a one-man team. Fernando Torres may have lit up the Premier League (on occasion), but he's been toothless in this tournament. I'm happily sitting on the 14-1 I took on Germany to win it all at the start of the tournament, although not quite as happily as the William Hill punter who staked €80,000 at that price.

Still, I'm not expecting another 4-0. This semi-final could end up being a tense, nervy encounter. But how about backing those Poles to break the deadlock? The mighty Miroslav is still available at 13-2 in several places. Podolski is a tasty-looking 8-1 to score first. That ought to set things up nicely for the final.

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