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Likely Round of 16 Participants-Final Predictions

June 21, 2010

We’ve seen each team play twice. We’ve seen some teams circle the wagons (Spain and Portugal) while others appear to be running for the hills (France and Italy). As of right now, only Cameroon and North Korea have been eliminated so it remains a wide open tournament. With that said, Argentina, the Netherlands, and Brazil have, at least for now, separated themselves from the field. Tomorrow, Groups A and B finish up first round play and we offer our predictions and analysis for those two groups and will do so through the rest of the group stages. Our thoughts and a useful link after the jump.

Group A:

France’s problems have been well-documented and their form was not too good to begin with this tournament. At this point, South Africa is playing for much more than an uninterested France squad. However, South Africa’s goal differential compared to Uruguay (6 goals) and Mexico (5 goals) will likely doom the host nation. Uruguay’s the more complete team right now so they will likely win, but even if they draw, they will advance atop the group. It will be an entertaining, wide open game because neither team wants to face Argentina in the first round of the knockout stages, but Uruguay has Diego Forlan and Mexico doesn’t so they finish as this group’s winner.

Group B:

Argentina has been one of the top three teams of the tournament so far with the Netherlands and Brazil. Messi’s at the top of his and is rumored to remain in the starting line-up. Even if they rest some of their starters or experiment with their lineup there is too much talent and offensive firepower to not win against Greece. African teams have traditionally fared poorly against Asian sides and have recently fared poorly at this year’s tournament, but it’s unthinkable that no African side will advance to the knockout stages on home soil. Despite not scoring a goal, they have been the most complete of the six African countries, appear to have the best managing, and has one of the top keepers in the tournament (Vincent Enyeama) playing at his best so I see Nigeria going through with a win over South Korea.

How each nation can qualify: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/world-cup/columns/story?id=799940&cc=5901&ver=us

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010 10:32 PM

    Continuing through the groups, our predictions for Groups C and D:

    Group C:

    Slovenia, England, and the U.S. all have control of their own destiny. If they win, they are in. Slovenia will also advance to the knockout stages with a draw and the U.S. will likely advance with a draw. If the U.S. plays like they did in the second half of the Slovenia game, which they should with no choice but to, they should win and advance. With England’s issues at center-back and some potential drama with the squad, England’s advancement remains in doubt. I think Slovenia plays for a draw and gets one with a disappointing English side and the United States manages to win, or at the very least, draw, advancing them as well, but it should be interesting.

    Group D:

    Regarded as the tournament’s most balanced group, it’s lived up to the hype with all four teams still alive and still very relevant. Ghana’s in the driver’s seat, ahead of Germany and Serbia by a point, but also has to face a very desperate Germany team that likely needs to win. Australia looked inspired in their draw with Ghana and has Tim Cahill back so they’re no easy out themselves. With that said, Serbia’s the safest choice to advance, likely only needing to draw to advance and, if they can find a semblance of an attack, could also win. With Nigeria missing chances down the stretch today, Ghana is Africa’s last hope for a knockout team and they have the defense to give Germany trouble. Germany’s not as bad as they were against Serbia or as good as they were against Australia, but I think Ghana surprises and gets at least a draw, putting them through with Serbia.

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