Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Quarters Are Set
The Round of 16 finished up yesterday with 2 wickedly exciting games. Paraguay-Japan gave us out first penalty shootout of the tournament, and two of the world's best, Spain and Portugal fought it out for 90 minutes, the world number one living up to their ranking. So we're all set for the quarterfinal match-ups starting Friday at 9:30am EST.
The first match is between the Netherlands and Brazil. Brazil seems to be heating up of late, really finding their stride, and really working together as a team. Netherlands is one of two undefeated or untied teams in the tournament, and they play with such poise, precision and determination, it will be tough to stop them. I think in the end, Brazil will become frustrated at seeing their runs killed over and over by the stalwart Dutch defense, and what will ultimately bring them down will be a strong counterattack from The Flying Dutchmen. I wouldn't be surprised if this game ended 3-2.
Later in the day at 2pm EST, Uruguay will take on Africa's last hope, Ghana. As we saw in the Ghana-USA game, Ghana's speed is tough to beat, but they can be worn down. Uruguay is a tough defensive team as well, and they may not have to tweak their game plan much to be successful. Both attacks will be fun to watch, but when it's all said and done, i think Uruguay will walk away, 2-1.
Saturday, the match-up of a lifetime hits the pitch, when Germany faces Argentina. Argentina is one of the strongest looking teams in the field, and are still my favorites to win it all. The attacking force of Klose, Ozil and Podolski is tough to stop, but with the chemistry La Albiceleste are working with, I think shutting them down will be more than reasonable. The magical Lionel Messi is still looking to break through and net his first goal of the Cup, and will look to send Argentina into the semis. Although both teams seem to score at will, I think we'll see a 1-0 game.
Finally, powerhouse Spain takes on Paraguay. Only one South American team has been eliminated so far, but this match will be quite a contest. Spain did the seemingly impossible when David Villa scored against Portugal to advance in a 1-0 win. Their world number one ranking could also be somewhat of an advantage for support. Paraguay is an excellent team. They struggled against Japan but were tough defensively and used every attacking chance to its fullest, This game will be exciting, but I think another 1-0 win is in sight for La Furia.