Before the World Cup Group Stages, I predicted that Holland would top Group B, but didn’t see Chile coming. I saw Colombia qualifying for the Round of 16, but Cote d’Ivoire let me down.
Overall, I correctly predicted seven of the eight group winners. Only England let me down – that’ll teach me to be optimistic.
So, with a day off from the World Cup survived, just, I thought I’d look ahead to the World Cup Round of 16 (or Knock Out Round if you prefer). Here we go…
Brazil v Chile
Saturday 28 June, 5pm (UK)
Hosts Brazil have been pretty underwhelming thus far. In my mind, that’s down to Scolari’s continuing faith in Fred up front. Dani Alves and Marcelo need to get forward more, and Fred needs to be replaced by a free-roaming Neymar up front. I fact, I get quite annoyed about the whole thing here.
Chile have impressed most people so far, and will run Brazil close. Brazil don’t defend convincingly, despite the experience and value of their back four. The home crowd should help the hosts over the line, though.
Prediction: Brazil 3 – 2 Chile
Colombia v Uruguay
Saturday 28 June, 9pm
Colombia are another South American team playing above their reputation so far. James (‘HA-mes’?) Rodriguez is arguably player of the tournament so far, and they have pace and aggression across the pitch.
Frankly, I hope Uruguay get absolutely battered. Their continuing denial of any wrongdoing by Luis Suarez is sickening – the manager, the players, even politicians; no one has admitted he is a disgrace who deserved a length ban. I am sick of Uruguay and I’m glad Luis Suarez won’t even enter a stadium for four months.
Prediction: Colombia 4 – 0 Uruguay
Holland v Mexico
Sunday 29 June, 5pm
Holland (no, not Netherlands) are a potent force and in Arjen Robben they have one of the world’s best players (and certainly the world’s best baldy). Also, Ron Vlaar is a marvellous man and deserves success after what Paul Lambert has put him through.
Mexico will get right up in the faces of Holland, but I don’t see them having enough to get through this one.
Prediction: Holland 3 – 1 Mexico
Costa Rica v Greece
Sunday 29 June, 9pm
On paper, possibly one of the grottiest Round of 16 games I can remember. Costa Rica were utterly hopeless against an equally-abysmal England team last time out, but knew they were through already. They are the only hope of entertainment in this game.
Perennial ‘just enough to get through’ experts Greece somehow clawed their way through at the expense of under-achieving Ivory Coast. I loathe the Greeks; especially rubbish Jesus-a-like Samaras. The oddness of Dimitris Salpingidis’s face upsets me, too.
Prediction: Costa Rica 1 – 0 Greece
France v Nigeria
Monday 30 June, 5pm
France have played well so far, and Karim Benzema should have had about 374 goals by now (apparently trying to ruin my ‘Argentina champions/Benzema top scorer’ bet @ 175-1).
But there will be an upset somewhere in the knock out rounds of this World Cup, and I think this might be it. Nigeria break quickly and Musa’s pace is always a threat. I expect France to dominate possession, but fancy Nigeria to shock people with a counter attacking win.
Prediction: France 1 – 2 Nigeria
Germany v Algeria
Monday 30 June, 9pm
Unlike the France game, I don’t expect a shock here. Germany are utterly ruthless and won’t let any complacency slip in against an inferior Algeria side. Thomas Mueller scores goals for fun, and they have the richest squad in terms of depth of proven quality.
Algeria did well to qualify and can be a threat, but won’t get many chances against the Germans, who will likely bring Klose on to become the all-time top goal scorer ahead of Fat Ronaldo, followed by a customary crap somersault.
Prediction: Germany 2 – 0 Algeria
Argentina v Switzerland
Tuesday 1 July, 5pm
Ah Argentina, my predicted winners in my work league. Come on you beauties. With Messi finding form and, worryingly for the rest, Aguero not having even showed up yet, Argentina have the best attack in the tournament. Di Maria had a great season, helping Madrid to La Decima and rivalling Suarez for ‘Rat of the Year’.
Switzerland are a solid team and with stand-out winger Xherdan Shaqiri fishing for a transfer away from Bayern Munich, they do offer a threat; just not enough.
Prediction: Argentina 3 – 1 Switzerland
Belgium v USA
Tuesday 1 July, 9pm
The final game is also where I see the 2nd upset happening. Belgium have all the right attributes on paper, but don’t quite seem ready at this level. Romelu Lukaku’s poor form shows how much they miss Christian Benteke, although Divock Origi is leading the way for this World Cup’s El Hadji Diouf Award for being discovered (by Liverpool) after having a few good games.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA side are well drilled, hard-working and disciplined. Clint Dempsey provides moments of magic, although they lack the quality to really make an impact at this tournament. Still, I think they can nab a win against the Belgians.
Prediction: Belgium 0 – 1 USA
So, there we go – more predictions that no one will read and will probably never come to fruition. I’m going to study the accumulator odds for picking the winners as per the above, so here’s how the World Cup Quarter Finals will line up as I see it:
Brazil v Colombia
Holland v Costa Rica
Nigeria v Germany
Argentina v USA
What do you think?
Head to the place where everyone’s got an opinion and tell me what a twat I am for choosing Nigeria ahead of France: @soccersagacity