Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup Round of 16 Preview

Some major surprises in Group Play, namely the dismissal of France and Italy, 2006's two finalists, the advancement of two Asian countries, the dominance of South America (all 5 teams advanced), and outside of Ghana, the failure of the African nations. Here are the predictions from the soccer newb but learning a lot moderator.

Uruguay-South Korea: Uruguay did not allow a goal in group play, and Forlan has been arguably the best player in the tournament so far. South Korea can score against lesser competition, but their back line has more holes in it than Swiss Cheese.

Uruguay 2 South Korea 0

USA-Ghana: If the United States comes out and plays a full 90 minutes, the game will be theirs for the taking. Ghana has plenty of speed, so the Americans' defense must stay focused and not give up any easy chances. Howard is emerging as one of the best goalies in the world and will make a big save or two to lead his team to victory.

USA 2 Ghana 1

Germany-England: One of the best games on paper in the Round of 16, both teams struggled at times during group play, but that's all over now. England's back line MUST play better if they are to win, but their shaky defense and goaltending will fail them.

Germany 1 England 0

Argentina-Mexico: Mexico was one of my sleeper teams to make a deep run in this tournament, until they drew this matchup. Argentina along with Brazil and the Netherlands have been in a class of their own thus far, and Messi still hasn't gotten going yet. Mexico's youthful energy and talented will make it exciting in the 1st half, but Argentina wins this one.

Argentina 2 Mexico 0

Netherlands-Slovakia: The Dutch have been the only European superpower to play to their potential thus far. Slovakia has no chance.

Netherlands 3 Slovakia 0

Brazil-Chile: Chile played admirably today nearly coming back against Spain despite being a man short. One has to root for them given their country's struggles, but Brazil is in a class of their own.

Brazil 3 Chile 1

Paraguay-Japan: Didn't really watch either team play, so I'll just take a guess.

Paraguay 3 Japan 2

Spain-Portugal: The other great round of 16 game, these two neighboring countries should put on quite a show. Spain demonstrated their remarkable passing ability in the Chile game, and are too deep a team to fall short this early.

Spain 1 Portugal 0

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