Thursday, June 26, 2014

Updated World Cup Predictions

2014 Updated World Cup Bracket


Brazil vs. Chile
Brazil looked far from dominant in the Group Stage but picked up some momentum in a 4 goal performance against Cameroon.  Chile gets the unlucky draw of having to play the host nation so soon, and I don't know if Chile's defense will be able to slow down Brazil's attack led by Neymar and Fred.

Colombia vs. Uruguay
Without Luis Suarez, I don't see how Uruguay stands a chance against Colombia, who has looked like one of the best teams, if not the best, in the tournament so far.  Uruguay got dominated by Costa Rica without Suarez, and Costa Rica doesn't have anyone as dangerous as James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, and Jackson Martinez, who should cause some major problems for Uruguay.

France vs. Nigeria
France was one of the most impressive teams in the Group Stage, and if it continues its impressive play, it should be able to beat Nigeria pretty easily.  Nigeria has talent but doesn't really seem like a cohesive unit and was able to advance in a very weak group.

Germany vs. Algeria
This is probably the most lopsided match up in the Round of 16.  Algeria played really well to qualify as the 2nd place team in Group H, but Germany is one of the favorites to win the World Cup, and rightfully so.  Germany had a scare against Ghana, but is one of the most talented teams in the world with tons of superstars that should carry it past Algeria and on to the quarterfinals.

Netherlands vs. Mexico
Netherlands cruised through the Group Stage, which included an absolute thrashing of the defending champs, Spain.  Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are playing as well as any players in the tournament and their consistent goal scoring should take the Netherlands far.  Mexico will not be intimidated though, having held their own against Brazil, and will need some goals from Oribe Peralta and Chicharito Hernandez to keep pace with the Netherlands.

Costa Rica vs. Greece
The first team to score wins.  With both teams playing an ultra-conservative style and reluctant to push many players forward, this game could come down to a set piece or a counter-attack goal.  This is probably the most likely game to go into penalty kicks, and is really a toss up.  I'll give the nod to Costa Rica because of the way it dominated Group D, while Greece needed a last minute penalty to get past Ivory Coast.

Argentina vs. Switzerland
While Argentina won each game in the Group Stage, it looked far from the dominant team many people expected to see, winning all three of its games by 1 goal each.  If this team didn't have Lionel Messi, it would probably be eliminated pretty early, but with the best player in the world, the sky is the limit.

Belgium vs. USA
The United States played great to make it out of the vaunted Group of Death, and now their reward is to face one of the dark horses of the tournament in Belgium.  Belgium won all three Group Stage games but struggled to score goals, progressing through on the strength of its defense.  The United States likely won't get many chances to score, so it will have to take advantage of its opportunities in order to move on.

Brazil vs. Colombia
If any team can beat Brazil in its home country, it's Colombia.  Colombia has the attacking weapons to cause problems for Brazil, but I think Brazil will be motivated to beat another South American team on its quest to the World Cup Final.

France vs. Germany

This could be a high scoring game if both teams play like they have been recently.  Both France and Germany can put up goals in a hurry, but their weakness is defense.  Germany is the better team, but its back line will have a tough time containing Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud.  I think Germany has the distinct advantage in the midfield, where Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, and Philip Lahm should be able to create plenty of chances for Thomas Muller and co.

Netherlands vs. Costa Rica
I think this is where the Costa Rica Cinderella story comes to an end.  While it will undoubtedly play strong defensively, I just don't think Costa Rica will be able to create enough goal-scoring chances to keep pace with the Netherlands.

Argentina vs. Belgium
Argentina will be the favorite to win this game, and while they definitely could win this game, and probably should, I just don't have faith in its back line.  Belgium just has too many weapons in Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku, and Marouane Fellaini for Argentina to contend with.  Argentina will likely need some more heroics from Messi if it is going to advance to the semifinals.

Brazil vs. Germany
I don't think we've seen the best from Brazil yet, and I think they really start to put it together around the quarterfinals.  Neymar, Fred, and Hulk will cause some major problems for Germany's back line, and I think Thiago Silva and David Luiz will do just enough to keep Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze in check.

Netherlands vs. Belgium
These two teams are pretty evenly matched, so I think the deciding factor will be experience.  The only player for Belgium who has any World Cup experience is Daniel Van Buyten, while Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Nigel de Jong all played for the Netherlands team that lost in the 2010 World Cup final to Spain.  Netherlands will benefit from the experience of these players, who will surely remember how close they got to winning the World Cup last time.

Brazil vs. Netherlands
Netherlands should be able to get this far on the strength of its offense, but I think its defense will finally let down here.  None of the defenders on the Netherlands played on the 2010 squad, and I think Neymar and co. will be able to take advantage of their inexperience.  If Brazil makes it to the final, I don't think there's any way it loses.  They will be really motivated and if there is a call that could go either way, Brazil will certainly get the benefit of the doubt.  I really hope the game isn't decided on a questionable call, but the refereeing so far in the World Cup has been suspect to say the least.  If Brazil is going to win the Cup, I want them to have deserved it.

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