Friday, June 27, 2014

We are down to the final 16 at the World Cup. It has been a fabulous tournament so far, even with the incident in kindergarten with the 5 year old Suarez biting. I think the excitement will continue now that we have reached the knock out stage.

Right away there are some very interesting match ups....and there are potential match ups that might be in the works. Here are the Frog's predictions:

Brazil v Chile - This is the South American bracket, and a great match up in the first game. This could be Brazil's biggest threat to not reaching the finals. I just cannot envisage Brazil losing at home if they get past this round. Brazil and Chile have also met in the World Cup, in 1962, 1998 and 2010. Each time the Brazilians have emerged with a victory. The Brazilians have not lost to Chile on home soil in over a decade. So why should this match be any different? A few reasons: the pressure on the home side is mounting, their last outing aside I think Brazil might have trouble scoring if it isn't Neymar and Chile have their tails up after a strong group stage. I think this will be a very entertaining match but one where the host will get through. Brazil 3 - Chile 2.

Colombia v Uruguay - Another great Copa America semi final! Just think about the buzz had Falcao and Suarez been present. Alas one missed the entire tournament  because of a knee injury and one is just crazy and a biter. Regardless the match up has the potential to be one of the best games of this round. Colombia quietly dominated Group C - 9 goals for only 2 against. Uruguay on the other hand had one great match against England but otherwise looked very lackluster. Losing a shocker to Costa Rica and a drab game against Italy. Uruguay is also in disarray with the fall out from the Suarez suspension. There were even rumors that La Celeste would not play the match. I highly doubt that will happen. Uruguay can either rally around this or fall apart. Either way I think their game is negatively effected when they don't have their star striker - look at the Costa Rica game. Colombia 2 - Uruguay 0

Holland v Mexico - El Tri seem to always get to this stage in World Cups...and then not much further. Holland seems to be a wagon right now. Oranje is rolling. This will also prove to be a good match up with two sides that are not afraid to push forward. Mexico does have a wild card - Ochoa. If he plays like he did against Brazil, then anything is possible. I just do not see how Mexico will slow down both Robben and RVP. Holland 2 - Mexico 0

Costa Rica v Greece - Unfortunately this might be one of the more boring ties. But...since it is Costa Rica this adds some intrigue to the match. I truly believe that the speed Costa Rica has leveraged to win their group might cause the Greeks a lot of issues. Greece, by some,
More glory for CONCACAF?
is thought to have reached this level by chance. A fortunate penalty granted at the end of their match against Cote D'Ivoire. This is not the Greeks that won the Euros in 2004. I think we might be in for another shock from Costa Rica. Costa Rica 1 - Greece 0

France v Nigeria - Talk about soap operas. The Nigerian national team went on strike over...World Cup bonuses. Hmmmm strikes and World Cups. Sounds familiar. Between Nigeria and Ghana, what is going on with the African nations and the World Cup?? I had this match up when I saw the draw a few months ago. At the time I also toyed with the idea that Nigeria could upset France and move on. That fear is still lingering somewhere in my mind. Can't seem to shake it! Nigeria has some pace up front that will cause France some problems. Look at what it did against Argentina. However the other aspect that was on display was Nigeria's back line. It was not solid and seemed very leaky at times. Something France can exploit. France 3 - Nigeria 1 (a more in-depth look prior to the game)

Germany v Algeria - Get the 1982 stories ready! Algeria has been impressive. They have an infusion of talented attack minded players - Feghouli, Slimani, Brahimi to name a few. The question is can they hold up defensively against a very well run German machine. For the Germans it will be interesting to see if their back line - made up of 4 natural center backs - can hold up against some of the pace that the Algerian forwards will throw at them. If France win their game against Nigeria, either team from this match up would create a mouth watering match up. As much as I would like to pick or hope for an upset, I cannot pick against Die Mannschaft. RFA 3 - Algeria 1

Argentina v Switzerland - There is a lot of buzz, well at least coming from Switzerland, that the Swiss can pull off the upset. Especially after their last game against Honduras and Shaqiri's hat trick. I think the Swiss will play Argentina much tighter and will surprise many. But Messi and co are picking up momentum as well. Not sure if Switzerland will be able to keep down Del Maria, Messi, Higuain etc. Argentina 2 - Switzerland 0

USA v Belgium - The Red Devils have failed to impress. Yes they won their three group games, all by 1 goal. But neither Lukaku or Hazard or any of the other stars of the side have lived up to the hype. Some deemed Belgium as a dark horse to win the entire tournament. I just don't see it. They have a collection of big names but they don't seem to be playing well as a team. The US on the other hand, surprised everyone by getting out of the group of death...well they didn't surprise me since I pegged them to finish second! I think that some of the hype surrounding the US from North American pundits has been a tad overblown. The US national team has some flaws, center backs and Bradley seem shaky. But you heard it here first: USA 2 - Belgium 1

So there you have my picks. I am surprised that I did not pick any game to go to penalty kicks...lets hope that is the case!

Let the games begin tomorrow.

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