I went 11 for 16 on my last round of predictions (if you include the prediction I refused to put on paper: US wins the group, England comes in second…you’ll just have to trust me), which kind of sucks to be honest. But since I’m playing pundit, absolute past failure will have no impact on my ability to predict future trends. Being a pundit is great!
Uruguay vs. South Korea
I’ve underestimated Uruguay throughout this tournament, and I see no reason to stop now. South Korea squeaks by in PKs.
USA vs. Ghana
Is it too early to call USA the Cinderella story of the tournament? Two big crunch-time wins have given them at least even odds to make the Semifinals. Jozy gets on the scoreboard today, and the USA sends the last African team packing.
Germany vs. England
It’s good for the US to be on the other side of this bracket. Germany hasn’t been great at this World Cup, but England has been worse. Germany in PKs.
Argentina vs. Mexico
El Tri will give the Argentinians a bit more than they expect–remember, Argentina hasn’t exactly had a top-flight opponent yet. But the Argentinians have figured out how to score in a World Cup that has been lacking goals. Argentina get a scare, but scrape this one out.
Netherlands vs. Slovakia
Yet another top flight team that hasn’t yet gotten a major challenge. I’m pause to jump on the “Netherlands will finally win” bandwagon until I see them against a top 10 team. Slovakia isn’t that team, but look at who’s up next after the Netherlands get through in a close match.
Brazil vs. Chile
It’s become pretty clear that Chile isn’t used to playing on a stage this big. They controlled the game early vs. Spain but after conceding a goal deciding stabbing at the legs of opposing players would be enough victory for them. Chile has racked up, by my rough count, 211 yellow cards and will be missing all 11 starters and 3 subs. Brazil moves on, despite another threatening first 15 minutes by Chile.
Paraguay vs. Japan
Borrrring. Paraguay tied an awful Italian team, beat Slovakia, and held onto a draw with the New Zealand All Blacks…or is it All Whites today? I don’t know. This somehow got them into the Round of 16. Japan’s quickness eats them up.
Spain vs. Portugal
Spain get the matchup they want. Right? Maybe? Aside from their 7 goal explosion against North Korea, Portugal have not looked exceptional this tournament. Spain seem to have regained their footing, even if Torres is doing his best Emile Heskey impersonation. But Spain have regained their footing against moderate opposition, and still only managed two goals against 10-man Chile last night. This one goes to PKs. Spain moves on.