Welcome back to the Post Up peeps. In today’s article we will be predicting who will advance in each game for the knockout rounds of 16. Now I will be honest with you, in my World Cup Preview I did get one wrong in Group C, one wrong in Group D, one wrong in Group F, one wrong in Group G, and finally one wrong in Group H. So therefore, out of the 16 teams that advanced, I got a 11 out of 16 in the group stages. I will not waste your time in predicting the first 4 games of the knockout, but I will say this, I would have picked Chile, Columbia, Netherlands, and finally Costa Rica. Therefore I am 3 of 4 in knockout, and 14 of 20 overall, not too shabby.
France v. Nigeria:
France have been rolling in the tournament so far. France won 2 of their 3 games, the other being a draw. They scored 8 goals over those three games, and had only two scored against them. France has looked very good so far, and that could be an issue for Nigeria. Nigeria has one win, draw and loss in their 3 games in the World Cup to date. They have scored three goals so far, and have also given up three. Nigeria was able to escape their group because of horrible referring and therefore, they may not deserve to be in the position they are.
France 3-1 Nigeria
I expect France to control this game from beginning to end. I expect France to go ahead at least by two goals at some point, and possibly three. They will cool off substantially and coast their way to a win. At some point Nigeria will look a threat and get a goal back, but this will either get France to score more, or they will not care and keep coasting because they already have a sustainable lead. Therefore, France will be moving on to face the winner of our next match-up, Germany v. Algeria.
Germany v. Algeria:
So much like France, Germany won two of their games, and drew their third. They were killing their opponents, by scoring 7 goals, and allowing two. Germany has looked much better than people would have thought with the injury issues they are having as of recent. However, they have been able to overcome them, and get those players involved to a certain extent. Algeria, on the other hand, has not looked as good. They too have had a win, loss and draw from the first three games. However, they have been scoring with ease having 6 goals to their name. However, their defense has been very shaky, which is why they have also given up 5 goals.
Germany 5-2 Algeria
Much like in the game that see’s France take on Nigeria, I expect Germany to control this game from beginning to end. Algeria is much more shaky than Nigeria is defensively, which is why I think they will concede more goals than Nigeria. On the flip side, Algeria is also a better scoring team, which is why I expect them to put more on the board than Nigeria. The fact of the matter is, Germany will be up quickly and early in this game, to the point where at half it may not be worth watching. Sure, Algeria will make it interesting and get a goal or two back, but Germany will be already gone before that can make a difference. Therefore, Germany will be seeing France in a heavy-weight match-up.
Argentina v. Switzerland:
Alright, now for the last two games of the round of 16. First up we have Argentina who is looking bad so far. Each game they have escaped by the skin of their teeth because of a certain guy named Messi. Yes, they won all their games, but they were all close, plus Messi has 4 of their 6 goals. Now this is not bad, but he has been quiet late into games, and with the Argentinian defense giving up 3 goals, you have to think it will not take a lot to beat Argentina. Unfortunately for Argentina, they seem to be running into a Switzerland team that has caught fire. The Swiss have won two and lost one, their one lose being to France. However, they responded after getting killed by France with a 3-0 win and a hat trick from Shaqiri. They currently stand at having scored 7 goals and given up 6, making their defense even more questionable.
Argentina 3-2 Switzerland (ET)
After seeing an extra time, and penalties, in both days so far, Monday we will not see any. However, Tuesday will pick that trend up and we will see this game go into extras. This game will be back and forth all day, and both teams will look great going forward, but bad defending. Eventually it will be tied late and head into extra time. However, unlike the other two games that have gone that late, Argentina will have a star shine to not go to penalties. Yes, I believe Messi will score the game winner late, and keep his magical run going. Therefore, Argentina will face the winner of Belgium v. USA.
Belgium v. USA:
Finally, the match-up everyone is looking to. You have the surprising USA team that has gotten out of the Group of Death. They had a win, a loss and a draw to their name in the group stages, but they actually looked very good in all games, and maybe should have had another win if it wasn’t for the brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo. The USA ended the group stages with 4 goals scored and 4 goals given up. This is going to be something to look at in this match-up because Belgium has not shown a goal scoring prowess either. Belgium may have won all their games, but they were all close as well. They have scored 4 goals but have given up only one so far. Their defense has looked very good, which is shocking because everyone thought their offense would be the stars.
Belgium 2-1 USA (PK)
Both teams have struggled to light up the scoreboard, and no team has really found a true “go to” scorer, as they have both seen goals from many different players so far. Belgium is very sound defensively, and the USA is not. However, I believe that Klinsmann will figure out a defensive strategy that will help them stop Belgium, not that it takes much to do at this point. However, at the end of regulation, it will be 1-1 and that will stay the same at the end of extra time. The goalkeeper match-up is similar, so there is no advantage. The USA is less talented, but this is the World Cup, only the ability to handle pressure matters, and both teams are relatively inexperienced in that department. This is a game that I see going either way, but I think that the USA has a better chance of sending one wide than Belgium does, which is why Belgium will be playing Argentina in the next knockout stage.
Thanks for reading!
All stats and information courtesy of espnfc.com