Friday, June 25, 2010

The last-16 and predictions

The World Cup has passed the initial group stages and there are 16 teams left for the following play-off matches:
  • 26/6: Uruguay-South Corea
  • 26/6: USA-Ghana
  • 27/6: Germany-England
  • 27/6: Argentina-Mexico
  • 28/6: Netherlands-Slovakia
  • 28/6: Brazil-Chile
  • 29/6: Paraguay-Japan
  • 29/6: Portugal-Spain
It is a wonderfully diverse group of teams, with 5 South American sides, two from North America, two Asian, six European (who will all be facing one another...) and disappointingly only one team from Africa, Ghana, who will have all the support of Africa and from most of the world for their match against the USA.

My tips are the following:
I believe that Uruguay, who has been strong and disciplined, will defeat a Corean side that has not been convicing, although they have been well-organised. Still, I believe Uruguay are by far the better team.
I support Ghana, but their poor striking force will be their doom against a strong USA side, where Landon Donovan has been the saviour. USA will make it to the quarterfinals.
Germany-England will be a repeat of one of the most classic matches of international football, and the match will be another drama to go over to history. That said, neither team is as brilliant as their history, but I believe that a slightly more cynical England side will win against a German team that I would nevertheless much rather see through.
Argentina has been great, and I believe that they will carry the day against Mexico, although as in 2006, it will not be easy, and likely be a close match where the Mexicans will be their usual dirty.
The Netherlands should be in the quarterfinals, and I see them as the greatest favourites in the last-16 against Slovakia, although the Slovakians showed that they should not be underestimated!
Chile and Brazil will be a great South American encounter, but Brazil will surely win. Chile are charming and offensive, but as inefficient up front as a team full of grandmothers, and with so many mistakes in defense that Brazil will surely win.
Paraguay-Japan is sure to be an exciting and close match, but an organised Japan team, with some extraordinary and quick players, should carry the day against an organised but at times inefficient Paraguayan side.
Portugal-Spain is, with England-Germany, to be one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Spain is by far the better side than the Portuguese, but the latter will be very excited for this match. I believe the sensation will be there, and Portugal will win a close match, perhaps after extra time and penalties.

Thus, my predictions for the quarterfinals are these:
  • Uruguay-USA
  • England-Argentina
  • Netherlands-Brazil
  • Japan-Portugal


Anonymous said...

hi Erik,

I tend to agree on your predictions, except for the England - Germany match. I think Germany has a team able to produce goals in ordinary time - which has been much more difficult for the English so far.

And then I hope for Spain to progress - but I think that match could turn into a hard played one.

That said, I dont really miss any team between the last-16. It will be exciting.


El Erik said...

Hi Jim, indeed, those two matches are the most difficult. I tip England though, as they are the ones that will be playing like "germans", and progress in spite of the Germans deserving it.
Portugal-Spain will be close. But also note that Portugal and Uruguay are so far the best defenses of the torunament!