Today's bet: England to win 1-0: 13-2 (Victor Chandler); England 12-1 to win on penalties, Germany 11-1 to win on penalties (Ladbrokes)
Never in the field of human conflict have I wanted to lose a 14-1 bet so badly. I highlighted Germany as being overpriced for the World Cup in the first edition of Losing Streak and followed my own advice. It means I'll be due a tidy sum from Paddy Power if they pull it off. But I can honestly say I don't want the money. I really, really, don't want it. Mr Power, you can keep the cash!
To my surprise, I'm actually mildly positive about England, for about the first time in the World Cup. And I might even be tempted to risk some money on the national side this time. It's true that they were anything but stunning against Slovenia, but they got the job done. And that's the important point. It was disappointing that they didn't get a second goal, which would have won them the group and secured an apparently easier draw through the early part of the knockout phase. But this hasn't been the most exciting of World Cups. It is now!
I also think the Germany game might have a further galvanizing effect on the team, in which there seems to have been a long overdue outbreak of unity. Recent results against our old rivals haven't been too bad and while Germany were stunning against Australia they were anything but against Serbia and looked only a bit better than workman-like against a Michael Essien-free Ghana. As such I'm willing to take the 17-10 on England winning after 90 minutes, available with William Hill and Paddy Power. It might also be worth an interest in a hard-fought 1-0 win by England, which is 13-2 with Victor Chandler. Since that first match, Germany's attack has looked rather toothless. I admit, it would be foolish to discount Miroslav Klose and Mesut Ozil looks like he could be a handful for England's defence. But we've looked reasonably tight at the back up until now and would have managed to go through the group phases without a goal against were it not for Mr Green's howler against the US.
If England can't win in 90 minutes, I don't fancy either of these countries to score in extra time. But Ladbrokes offer 11-1 on Germany winning on penalties, and 12-1 on England. Both outcomes look overpriced given that these two could cancel each other out.