Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Revisiting the Round of 16 Predictions

With the round of 16 now completed I thought it would be good to revisit my predictions. I got 6 of 8 correct, but my comments were off on some of the matchups. My predictions are in italics below and my re-cap follows those.
  • 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. Germany dominated in part because Sweden played with 10 men and the Deutsch defense wasn't really tested. I'm still wary of the defense but the Argentina game should be a classic with the German offense clicking on all cylinders.
  • Argentina v. Mexico: Mexico gets spanked, easy as that. Boy was I off. Mexico played a great game and lost on one of the prettiest goals of the tournament. The Argentina defense appeared suspect on headers and crosses into the box, which may be good for the tall Germans.
  • England v. Ecuador: England should win this and Rooney gets more game fit. Ecuador was lucky to be in a weak group. England's finishing woes continued but Rooney looked fit. Woe to the opponent who faces the Three Lions when Gerrard and Lampard can actually get a shot on goal.
  • 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. This could have been a great matchup if a hockey game hadn't broken out. Portugal will be without a couple of key contributors against England.
  • 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. It was Italy who played with 10 men, but the Italian acting definitely came into play at the end of this one.
  • 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. This was an awful match. The Swiss did shut down Ukraine, but there was no offense for Switzerland.
  • Brazil v. Ghana: Brazil in a walk with Michael Essien missing. The 3-0 score makes it look like a walk, but Brazil's defense looked like Swiss cheese and Ghanaian attack just went through the holes. Brazil's offense looked good though.
  • 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. This was the match of the round with the France of old appearing after an old France had shown up in the group stages. Zizou was great, as was Ribery and Vieira. Now only if Henry can have a great game at the same time, then there could be an upset against Brazil next round.

Here are my quarterfinal predictions:

Argentina v. Germany: Tough to go against the hosts on form, but I will take Argentina, who will be the first real test of the German defense.

England v. Portugal: England will win this game because Portugal will be missing a few players. I like England to finally get on track with Rooney putting one in the net.

Italy v. Ukraine: Catenaccio defense of the Italians will keep Ukraine in check.

Brazil v. France: I'll stick with Brazil, but I won't be surprised if an on-form France upsets.


Soccer Nut said...

couldn't put essien in the team after he played only two games. he was excellent in both, but with just two games i don't think you make the tournament team for that. In any event, I though Appiah played better.

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