Thursday, July 1, 2010

World Cup 2010 Quarterfinal predictions

Friday and Saturday should provide great entertainment. There is one monumental game each day, which pairs traditional powers facing off for a spot in the semi-finals.

Brazil v Holland. This has been my comment since May when I made my original predictions: Brazil will punch Holland in the throat and the Dutch will collapse. Holland are in decent form but have yet to really put a team to the sword. Their defense has been ok, although Slovenia really rattled them at the end. They have given up two PK’s, which is a little troubling. I just don’t see RVP and co. giving a solid and physical Brazilian back line any problems, while I can see Fabiano, Robinho, etc, turning the Dutch defenders shorts brown. My guess is that Kaka will be a non-factor with Van Bommel and DeJong squeezing him out. Holland must score first to have any chance in this game. I don’t see that, and am taking Brazil to win 2-0.

The afternoon game is the game for the outsiders. Uruguay has the history but haven’t done anything in years, last making the round of 16 in 1990. As for Ghana, this is their chance to take an African team to the last four for the first time ever. I can see this game being similar to Paraguay/Japan, with teams being nervous and not wanting to make a mistake. The key for Uruguay is getting Forlan involved. If he is factor, he will win the game himself or create space for Suarez. Ghana has proven they can seize on any opportunity. They may only create 3 or 4 chances but they will make them count. I worry that they might be too loose with their passing and that may be their undoing. However I am taking them to win 1-0.

The first game of Saturday is Germany v Argentina, a rematch of this fixture from 2006, which Germany won on PK’s. Both teams advanced in part to poor refereeing decisions but also gave dominating performances. How will Argentina hold the fluid Germany attack? This will be their first challenge of any magnitude and we’ll see how they respond. Hopefully Samuel will be fit to play. I don’t see how Veron plays in this game and I worry about how Messi will get involved. For being the world’s best player, he has yet to have a game like he does for Barcelona. If that happens, he could be the X factor to separate these teams. As for Germany, assuming they play most of their starters, they should be good for a couple of goals, and I really think the England game will fuel their confidence. I expect this to be a highly entertaining fixture, with Germany prevailing 2-1.

Paraguay v Spain could be poor. If Spain get an early goal, they should cruise. If not, Paraguay will pressure them all over the field, bunker in and wait for a chance. I could see Spain with 65-70% possession and nothing to show for it. My guess is that Torres will start but maybe only get a half. Pedro or Llorente will come in or possibly Navas to give some width to the attack. I’m taking Spain in a narrow 1-0 victory. Just don’t see much spectacle in this.

If predictions hold, I will still be on course for the Brazil/Spain final that I predicted. We’ll see.

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