Going back over the predictions I made at the start of the tournament, I managed to correctly pick out 13 of the 16 teams for the Round-of-16. Ivory Coast has been a disappointment - if only their defence had been a little bit more disciplined, if only one of their chances had gone in against Holland, then the final matches of Group C would have been crackers.
I am supporting England. I don't want Brazil to win it AGAIN. They are good but c'mon let someone else win. I hope Ghana kicks their ass (not happening). So without meeting any meaningful opposition Brazil are on their way to the quarter finals and possibly the semis.
The form teams of the tournament so far are Germany, Argentina (but ofcourse), Spain, Italy (tendency to sit on a 1-0 lead may haunt them), Portugal (good coach but not too great players) and Brazil. England has been stumbling while France does not deserve to be here. My underdog team that I am rooting for is Australia. Croatia-Australia was the match of the tournament so far.
So, without any further ado, here are my knockout predictions.
Germany vs. Sweden
Sweden will be a handful for Germany but I expect the home team to prevail. It will be low scoring hard fought match (two European teams generally play out in the midfield).
Argentina vs. Mexico
Historically Argentina had trouble against American teams but I don't expect them to break too much sweat in dealing with Mexico. Mexico are vulnerable against pacy counter attacks (as they showed against Portugal) which Argentina are good at (as shown against Ivory Coast).
England vs. Ecuador
If Rio Ferdinand is fit then I expect England to canter to a 3-0 win over Ecuador. The South American team can be frustrated by an organized defence and lack the quality strikers to penetrate. If Ferdinand is not fit, England will still win, but barely.
Portugal vs. Netherlands
Tough one to call. Portugal has Figo while Robben stars for the Dutch. Equally matched in almost every category, I would give the Portuguese the slightest edge, as they have Scolari, a great coach. Plus, if the match goes to penalty kicks, the Dutch don't have a good record of winning those.
Italy vs. Australia
Much as everyone would like the Aussies to take this one, with Gus being a great tactical coach, the Aussies have too many problems to finish off a stubborn side such as the Italians. They don't know who will be the starting goalie, for one. Two, the Italians are great at set pieces, and the Aussies not so great at defending them. Three, the Italians have too much depth, experience and talent to lose to Australia. However, if the Italians take an early 1-0 lead and then decide to sit back, the Aussies WILL equalize. The way to beat Australia is to play attacking football.
Switzerland vs. Ukraine
The worst sides to qualify for the second round play against each other. Given that Ukraine struggled to break down the 10-men Tunisian defence whereas the Swiss honed their skills playing against France and Turkey through the qualifiers, I expect a Swiss victory.
Brazil vs. Ghana
Wouldn't we all love David to kill the Goliath once more? Sadly, Brazil has too much class to let the Africans trouble them. Well Ghana, you had your fun, you managed to put a smile on some peoples' faces and had your party, but now it's time to take your ball and your Israel flags and go home.
Winner: Brazil (by a distance).
Spain vs. France
The eternal bridesmaid versus the once beautiful maiden now ugly old hag. Whoever scores first will win. I expect Spain to take this, but just. France is not out yet, their coach looks like he has learnt the lessons taught by Korea in the game against Togo. Then again, it was Togo.
Tags: FIFA World Cup