We’ve made it to the knockout rounds! There are some great match-ups in the round of 16, but first we need to add my points from Thursday’s action. The only game I got right was Belgium, so I get a measly 1 point.
Brian’s Prediction Points Tally = 24
Things are heating up, though, as every plays all or nothing in the knockout rounds. There are no strategic draws or acceptable 1-0 losses here. As such I’m doubling the points earned for correct guesses. This is usually the case for later rounds of fantasy brackets, but it’s especially important here because of how far behind I am.
Saturday sees hosts Brazil against Group B runners-up Chile in the early game. Chile looked really strong against Spain, but they struggled against Australia and sputtered out a bit against the Netherlands. Brazil, on the other hand, looked like complete crap early and got steadily better as their group stage campaign progressed. They’ve got a ton of momentum going into this match, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we finally saw them click. My prediction:
Brazil 3 : 1 Chile
The second match of the day features high-flying Colombia versus highly-likely-to-crumble-without-Luis-Suarez Uruguay. Colombia breezed through Group C, while Uruguay struggled to find the net in Group D (and were one post-bite goal away from knockout in their game against Italy). I don’t see this game as being much of a contest, honestly. My prediction:
Colombia 3 : 0 Uruguay
If the gods are good, this is how it’s going to work out, because a Brazil-Colombia match would be fantastic to watch.
Sunday’s matches are both incredibly exciting and it’s-incredible-that-you’re-even-here. First up is the Netherlands v. Mexico. At this point the Netherlands are one of the three favorites to win it all (along with Brazil and Germany), but Mexico have found themselves in great form and surprised a lot of people by coming out of the group stage. Netherlands’s attack led the group stage with 10 goals, but Mexico’s defense was tied for stingiest (with Belgium and Costa Rica), allowing only 1.
I don’t know what to do about this game. I mean, the Netherlands are going to win, and it would be insane to think otherwise. I don’t know how to score it, though. This is tough. After much soul searching, my prediction:
Netherlands 2 : 1 Mexico
The weekend’s final match is one of the most interesting of the tournament. I expected this to be Uruguay v. Ivory Coast, but a strong Costa Rica squad and a last-minute Greek penalty changed all of that. Costa Rica stunned everyone with wins over Italy and Uruguay, and their 0-0 draw against England doesn’t really count for much considering they’d all but won the group already. On the other side of the spectrum, Greece are the only team in the round of 16 that registered a negative goal differential in the group stage. It’s really only because Japan weren’t able to put them away even though the Greeks went down a man in the first half of their game that the Mediterraneans (Mediterraneanos?) are even here. Nobody outside of these two countries likely cares much what happens in this match, but I’m excited to watch one of the strongest defenses in the Cup take on one of the most inept offenses. My prediction:
Costa Rica 2 : 0 Greece
And that’s the weekend! I don’t know about you, but I’m STOKED! I especially can’t wait for the Colombia-Uruguay
massacre match and the Netherlands-Mexico slugfest. I’m hoping Rafa Marquez punches Arjen Robben in the face somehow.