The little genius is bound to score soon
As I have not made any predictions in the World Cup so far, other than England to comfortably beat Germany, I thought I should take a look at the quarter-finals and see if I can do any better than I normally do in the Premier League.
The games are going to be fascinating and whilst there are favourites in each one, not one of them is in any way a foregone conclusion.
Uruguay v Ghana
Before the tournament I didn’t really expect Uruguay to get this far. After their first game, a dismal 0-0 draw with France, I certainly didn’t. Then they played Bafana Bafana in front of a partisan and incredibly noisy crowd and took them apart. They looked like quarter-finalists.
A win over a decent Mexico side followed and then victory over a battling and talented South Korea team took them to this point. They defend well and have conceded only one goal in their four games and in Forlan and Suarez, they have a potent strike-force.
Ghana are Africa’s last chance. They have been great so far and in their 1-0 win over Serbia they played with a refreshing exuberance that promised great things. They were less impressive in a 1-1 draw with Australia and then returned to good form, only going down 1-0 to Germany.
In the round of sixteen they faced a decent USA side who were strong favourites to win the game. Ghana produced a stunning performance of pace, power, desire and discipline and an extra-time goal saw them through to this stage.
Good as they are, I think this could be a game too far for the Black Stars.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-0
Argentina v Germany
Nobody knew what to expect from Argentina. It was obvious to everyone that player for player they were as good as anyone else in the tournament, but with the eccentric Diego Maradona in charge, anything could have happened.
As it has turned out, they have played with excitement and freedom. They have an attitude that says ‘if you score one, we’ll score two.’ They do not look too strong at the back, but that hasn’t mattered because they have spent nearly all the tournament going forward.
Wins against Nigeria, South Korea, Greece and Mexico have seen them score ten times and concede just twice. Lionel Messi has been brilliant but he hasn’t found the net yet. He will, make no mistake about that.
Germany are being regarded as an inexperienced side who are not as good as usual German teams. Half of the side played in the Euro 2008 final defeat to Spain and the other half played in the winning under twenty-one team that season. They are not too inexperienced and they are as good as always.
A great 4-0 win over Australia announced their arrival but they stuttered a little with defeat to Serbia and a one goal win over Ghana. They followed that with the efficient annihilation of England and they will fancy their chances.
I think Argentina will be too quick for the German defence.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-0
Brazil v Holland
I am a little fed-up with hearing that Brazil are an efficient team and less flamboyant than they normally are. They are supposedly a compact and slightly boring team in the mould of their manager Dunga.
Rubbish! Robinho, Kaka, Fabiano, Alves, Maicon, Bastos. Efficient and boring?
I agree that they are compact and having a strong central defensive partnership with two holding midfielders in front of them makes them very difficult to beat, but when they go forward they are a joy to watch.
They have beaten North Korea and Ivory Coast before drawing a non-event of a game against Portugal. In the round of sixteen they disposed of a good Chile side without breaking sweat.
Holland are promising much and they have some great individual players in Sneijder, Robben and Van Persie. They haven’t quite gelled as a unit yet and will obviously have to if they are going to seriously challenge Brazil.
They have beaten Denmark, Japan, Cameroon and Slovakia without ever really looking good enough to win the tournament.
If Holland can get it together it will close, but this Brazil team have got the lot.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-1
Paraguay v Spain
If I’m honest the game between Paraguay and Japan was a little bit less exciting than watching paint dry. On the positive side, they defend very well and they are very well organised. Also, they take pretty good penalties.
They beat Slovakia and drew with New Zealand and Italy before the game against Japan. In all truth, I have to say they are probably the weakest of the quarter-finalists. Having said that, they will take some breaking down.
The bad news for Spain is that if David Villa doesn’t score it is difficult to see where the goals are coming from. The good news is that he looks like scoring every time he gets the ball.
Their victory over Portugal was a victory for passing and movement, a victory for positive play and a victory for football.
After their shock defeat to Switzerland they have recovered with wins over Honduras, Chile and Portugal. They remain the best bet to win the tournament outside of South America.
SoccerNews prediction: 0-2