If I were to write a “500 Words On…” today, it would probably be about how shocking it is that Spain have bowed out of the Cup so spectacularly, how they put forward such a terrible effort and were completely embarrassed by the Netherlands and Chile. Plenty of wiser men will write about this topic in the coming weeks, however, and anyway I’ve got more pressing concerns, like the 2 points I managed to earn yesterday despite Spain’s historic collapse.
Brian’s Prediction Points Tally = 13
Interestingly enough, I was actually only one goal away from getting all of the scores correct—just for the wrong games. It was the Netherlands that won 3-2, not Spain, and Chile who won 2-0, not Croatia, while the Croatians ended their game a goal over the 3-0 prediction I made for the Dutch. This means one of three things: either I’m moving closer, spiraling further, or am completely insane to think that there is any logic to this whatsoever. It’s almost certainly the third.
The early game today is Colombia v. Ivory Coast. I’m going to be in the minority here, but I think Les Éléphants are going to pull an upset draw out here. The only question is whether it will be to the tune of 0-0, 1-1, or 2-2. This game is in Brasília, which isn’t as hot, humid, or rainy as Recife, where Ivory Coast played their first match, so I’m thinking they won’t look quite as wilted (and that Yaya Touré’s free kicks might be a bit more accurate). Colombia played their first match in Belo Horizonte, where it was decidedly NOT pouring rain, so their uptick in form won’t be quite as dramatic. They do have a really good squad, though, as they showed against Greece. Okay, but honestly, if I’m talking about the weather, I obviously have no clue what’s going to happen in this game. My prediction:
Colombia 2 : 2 Ivory Coast
The midday match, Uruguay v. England, is going to be AWESOME. Both teams lost their opener are going to want to really make a statement here. Not to mention, with Costa Rica and Italy both on 3 points, the loser of this match is almost guaranteed to be knocked out. (They’d have to wait for tomorrow to know for sure, though; a Costa Rica-Italy draw would put both teams at 4 points, sealing the fate of any loser of this match.) I could feign neutral and suggest this one is going to be a draw, but I have to pick a side. It’s unclear whether Luis Suarez is going to play in this match, but even if he is rushed back into the side, he’s not going to be at 100% following his knee surgery, and as we saw against Costa Rica, Suarez really is the heart and soul of that team. I expect Roy Hodgson to make a few changes, maybe take Wayne Rooney out or move him into the middle, but regardless of the starting lineup/formation, I think England’s young attacking force are going to be too much for Uruguay to handle, and without Luis Suarez to keep their defense honest, Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines are going to be a bit freer to roam up the pitch and help out. My prediction:
Uruguay 1 : 3 England
The last match of the day is Japan v. Greece. I don’t particularly care much about this match, but it should be exciting to watch anyway. I’m generally a fan of Japan’s style of football, and really I think they could have done more to put the game against Ivory Coast away. Greece have a few solid attacking weapons that can make trouble for Japan, but they’re not as strong as Ivory Coast, and except for that two minute scoring period, Japan dealt with Ivory Coast rather well. Similar to the Uruguay-England situation, both of these teams realistically need a win to maintain any hopes of progression to the next round, but I only see one of them putting up a realistic fight. My prediction:
Japan 2 : 1 Greece
My 13 points to date are out of 20 games, so I really need a boost soon. Hopefully I’ll nail one of these scores, or at least get all three results correct.