Netherlands, Brazil underdogs in semifinals

Nelly the elephant kicks the ball in Brazil's net, which means she is predicting Germany will move on to the World Cup finals in this epic matchup.

Four of the pre-eminent global soccer superpowers are set to clash in the semifinals of 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as the favourites keep marching on after the first four weeks of soccer betting action.

The host Brazilians will field a battered but still dangerous lineup when they take the pitch as slight underdogs against Germany for their semifinal matchup on Tuesday (4:00 p.m. ET) at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

In the absence of their leading scorer Neymar (due to injury) as well as their captain Thiago Silva (suspension due to multiple bookings), Brazil was listed Monday as underdogs at +175 odds at online sportsbooks tracked by to defeat Germany (+160) and advance to the World Cup final.

Germany was ranked at No. 2 in the FIFA World Ranking entering this quadrennial tournament for global supremacy, behind only the defending World Cup champions from Spain, while Brazil was rated No. 3 by FIFA.

The other semifinal will also feature a marquee matchup of two prominent teams from South America and Europe respectively, as Argentina is currently tracking as a comparatively heavy favourite at +135 odds to defeat the Netherlands (+210) on Wednesday (4:00 p.m. ET) at Arena de Sao Paulo.

Draw odds for both semifinal matchups were sitting at +230.

Argentina, led by their talented and determined difference-maker Lionel Messi, is now sitting atop the futures odds to win 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at +240 odds, with Germany and Brazil both listed at +250 and the Netherlands assuming underdog status at +350.

The Argentines took the field in Brazil last month at No. 5 in the world rankings while Holland was well back at No. 15 despite advancing to the World Cup final four years ago in South Africa where they finally succumbed to Spain.

The most likely World Cup final matchups, according to the oddsmakers, are Argentina vs. Germany or Brazil vs. Germany at +225 odds, with Brazil vs. Netherlands and Germany vs. Netherlands listed at +333.

James Rodriguez leads the scoring table with six goals but with Colombia having been eliminated by Brazil in the quarter-finals there remains an opportunity for the likes of Thomas Muller (Germany) and Messi to pay off bettors who back them for the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the tournament’s leading goal-scorer.

Muller (5/1 odds) and Messi (3/1 odds) have both scored four goals so far, while veteran Dutch stars Arjen Robben (20/1) and Robin Van Persie (16/1) both have three. Rodriguez is at 8/11 odds to retain his lead and win the award despite Columbia’s elimination.

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