Sport

World Cup, phase 2.

We’ve all endured two long, hard weeks (for some) of World Cup football by now and, as promised, it’s time for me to give you my thoughts on the knockout stage of the competition.

Now, we’ve seen a few shocks so far – albeit not quite the main one I was expecting (that being Germany going out at the group stage, but Spain and England more than made up for that in their own unique ways) – and I’m speculating that will continue from here on. I think on reflection people will look back at this World Cup and wonder why they marveled at such entertainment when the only reason it has been so entertaining is because even the better teams seem to have forgotten how to defend. Spain conceding five in their opening match really set the tone, but I think the signs were there from the moment a shaky Brazil side kicked off the tournament – and then proceeded to help kick Croatia out of the tournament with help from an amateur referee.

Personal grievances aside, I too have enjoyed seeing a fair few of my opening predictions go up in smoke, and for that reason I’m not going to go into too much detail on this part of my 2014 World Cup overview. Rest assured I have put a decent amount of thought into these score predictions; I’m just not motivated enough to divulge the reasons why for all of them. Of course if I turn out to be right about everything, I’ll soon change my mind and talk about how I got my method so watertight for the next year or two. But it’s probably more likely that I’ll just give up trying to second guess this game altogether.

Round of 16

Brazil (1) v. (2) Chile

Colombia (3) v. (0) Uruguay

Netherlands (1) v. (0) Mexico

Costa Rica (1) v. (1) GreeceGreece to win on penalties

France (2) v. (0) Nigeria

Germany (0) v. (1) Algeria

Argentina (2) v. (1) Switzerland

Belgium (3) v. (1) USA

Brazil and Germany join some of the other big nations in crashing out relatively early; Brazil to (I believe) an all-round better team and the Germans to an Algeria side that will be out for the extra spice of revenge for that incident from 1982 which only the older among us will remember. I also get the feeling that Greece will sneak past Costa Rica thanks to the organisation that got them here in the first place. I did warn all of you that they were an underrated team heading into this tournament, and they’ll be buoyed by squeezing out of a group they really were given no chance of escaping from.

Quarter-finals

Chile (3) v. (2) Colombia

France (3) v. (1) Algeria

Netherlands (2) v. (0) Greece

Argentina (2) v. (1) Belgium

I’m afraid by the time we get to the quarter-finals I can see some of those smaller nations tailing off as they realize how well they have done at this World Cup. Chile and Colombia, should they both get here, could be the match of the round, while Algeria also have significant political history with France which would make their match very interesting.

Semi-finals

Chile (1) v. (1) France – Chile to win on penalties

Netherlands (2) v. (3) Argentina

This is where we get to the real business end. As much as I’d love to see the Netherlands go all the way again – and actually complete the journey this time – their tournament trajectory looks set to take them into a clash with Argentina, for whom Messi has been showing signs of resurgence. It should be an entertaining semi-final if we see it, but with this match taking place in Brazil as well, I think Argentina will do anything they can to make it through. Chile and France meanwhile would be a typical match between two sides who probably didn’t expect to get this far and would be uncharacteristically conservative. I think that would suit Chile and help to give us a very interesting final…

Final

Chile (1) v. (2) ArgentinaArgentina win the World Cup.

Probably no real surprise in the end, but the route I take to get to Argentina as my winners will, I expect, surprise some people. My predictions never fail to do that. Unfortunately, they frequently fail in other ways. Only time will tell if I have worked some weird voodoo on this occasion.

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2 thoughts on “World Cup, phase 2.

  1. Well Graeme the least said about your group predictions the better !!!!!!! Anyway, I do agree with a few predictions, Brazil and Uruquay to fall by the wayside but I see France or Germany making it to the final along with, Netherlands or Argentina. Saying that I can see the USA or Belguim making life hard for Argentina in the last 8.

    1. Well nice to see we agree about some at least! I do fancy France as well, and as I say if Chile get past Brazil and make the semi’s, then I can see a very close game between the two with it being almost a straight shoot-out to get to the final. Ultimately though, I think we’ve seen that Messi is up for it at this World cup and he can carry his team to the trophy. But my heart still says the Netherlands can do it!!

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