Here's what I predicted and what actually occurred:
Group A -- Predicted: Germany (1st), Poland (2nd); Actual: Germany, Ecuador
Group B -- England, Paraguay; Actual: England, Sweden
Group C -- Argentina, Cote D'ivorie; Actual: Argentina, Netherlands
Group D -- Portugal, Mexico; Actual: Portugal, Mexico
Group E -- USA, Italy; Actual: Italy, Ghana
Group F -- Brazil, Croatia; Actual: Brazil, Australia
Group G -- France, Switzerland; Actual: Switzerland, France
Group H -- Spain, Tunisia; Actual: Spain, Ukraine
Not bad, not great. Definitely some reaches for the second place teams and a little homerism on the part of the US. Oh well. These are the matchups for the round of 16 and my thoughts:
- Germany v. Sweden: Should be a good game to see if Germany has a real defense, and I think the home crowd carries the Germans to victory.
- Argentina v. Mexico: Mexico gets spanked, easy as that.
- England v. Ecuador: England should win this and Rooney gets more game fit. Ecuador was lucky to be in a weak group.
- Portugal v. Netherlands: Maybe the best matchup of the round. Portugal will get a real test with the Netherlands, but the Netherlands' defense should be tested by the Portuguese attack as well. Netherlands win this one.
- Italy v. Australia: Italy's acting abilities will really test Australia's ability not to go down a man. Should be a physical match but the Italian offense should carry the day.
- Switzerland v. Ukraine: Switzerland is lucky to get one of the weaker teams to advance. Ukraine was utterly miserable against Tunisia in its last match and the Swiss will probably shut down Ukraine's only real weapon--Shevchenko.
- Brazil v. Ghana: Brazil in a walk with Michael Essien missing.
- Spain v. France: Spain has looked far more impressive than France so far but the Spaniards haven't really been tested. France looked good in the last match and if Zidane can be incorporated into the attack the team had against Togo I will take France.
Update: I am going to provide my predictions for all of the knockout stages as Complete Sports has done. Above are my Round of 16 predictions.
- Argentina over Germany
- England over Netherlands
- Italy over Switzerland
- Brazil over France
- Argentina over England (Semifinal)
- Brazil over Italy (Semifinal)
- England over Italy (3rd place match)
- Argentina over Brazil 3-2. (Final)