With no games to predict today, I think now is a good time to pick the games the rest of the way in the style of my most popular post – my original group stage predictions. While those picks don’t look so great now, it’s nice to have something to look back on as we progress. Don’t hold me to any of what I say, as I reserve the right to change my picks for games even in the round of 16 – unless I’m right of course. So here we go.
Round of 16
Brazil over Chile – I really want to pick against the hosts, and I very well might tomorrow, but I think Neymar has enough magic in him to edge Brazil past the exciting Chileans.
Colombia over Uruguay – There’s no way James Rodriguez will be stopped by a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay.
Netherlands over Mexico – Mexico might surprise the Dutch, but a Arjen Robben solo effort will prove enough in extra time.
Costa Rica over Greece – Why would I pick against Costa Rica? There’s no way Georgios Samaras scores again, so unless the match goes to penalties, the Ticos will advance.
France over Nigeria – France’s new-look attack will have their way with Nigeria’s defense. The French are on a roll.
Germany over Algeria – The upstart Desert Foxes will run into a brick wall in Germany, who will quickly show Algeria they aren’t playing in Group H anymore.
Argentina over Switzerland – Johan Djourou will be having nightmares about Lionel Messi all week. Argentina will romp, putting at least three past the Swiss.
USA over Belgium – Here’s my upset. The red, white and blue will win this one on penalties. Tim Howard will upstage Thibaut Courtois.
Colombia over Brazil – The pressure will get to Brazil, and they’ll wilt under the spotlights. Defensive mistakes from Brazil will see Colombia score early and often.
Netherlands over Costa Rica – The dream will die here. Robin van Persie will show Joel Campbell what a true Premier League striker looks like. And Louis van Gaal’s bunch will be back in the semifinals.
Germany over France – The game of the tournament will come two rounds too early. A high-scoring thriller will come down to penalties, where Manuel Neuer will best Hugo Lloris.
Argentina over USA – Lionel Messi will continue his stellar tournament, running circles around DeMarcus Beasley. This game won’t be close.
(Update: I made a mistake and set the wrong quarterfinalists together here. Please see the update for my correction)
Netherlands over Colombia – Two of the tournament’s surprises will meet in a contentious semi. Goals will come early, but the brakes will be thrown on and the second half will be a defensive struggle. Netherlands advances to their second straight final on penalties.
Germany over Argentina – My German bias might be a factor in this pick, but I see a repeat of the 2010 demolishing. Messi will be at his best, but his teammates won’t be of any help in the end.
3rd Place Game
Argentina over Colombia – Lionel Messi will seal his golden boot and golden ball awards with a brace against Colombia. Argentina gets third.
Germany over Netherlands – Die Mannschaft wird gewinnen! The Dutch defense will finally be exposed, and Arjen Robben won’t be at his best against many of his club teammates. Philipp Lahm will lift the trophy for the Germans, who will be deserving winners in Brazil.
Do you disagree? Tell me why I’m wrong. And enjoy the day off from soccer if you can. I know I won’t.