When the clock strikes 10am on the east coast, the Knockout Stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be underway – and from then on out, it’s “do or die” for the 16 remaining countries.
The Wife Hates Sports loves to pick its nose – scratch that, “knows”, as in attempting to predict the results – from the Super Bowl, to March Madness and now the World Cup.
Here’s the current bracket, the upcoming schedule, plus KP’s predictions from here on out:
2010 FIFA World Cup Schedule*
* FIFA World Ranking in parantheses next to each country
Saturday June 26, 2010
Urugay (16) vs. South Korea (47)
United States (14) vs. Ghana (32)
Sunday June 27. 2010
Germany (6) vs. England (8)
Argentina (7) vs. Mexico (17)
Monday June 28, 2010
Netherlands (4) vs. Slovakia (34)
Brazil (1) vs. Chile (18)
Tuesday June 29, 2010
Paraguay (31) vs. Japan (45)
Spain (2) vs. Portugal (3)
KP’s Picks & Thoughts – 2nd Round
Uruguay OVER South Korea
United States OVER Ghana
Germany OVER England
Argentina OVER Mexico
Netherlands OVER Slovakia
Brazil OVER Chile
Japan OVER Paraguay
Portugal OVER Spain
– By far, the best second round matchup is Spain vs. Portugal. Spain was a favorite by many in this World Cup, but they have shown some lapses on defense plus vulnerability at times, most notably in its loss to Switzerland, plus giving up a goal to a Chilean team with 10 players. Side note: Portugal didn’t give up a goal in its three group games.
– The US team will be seeking revenge from Ghana, the team that kept them from advancing to the round of 16 in 2006. While Ghana has an entire continent rooting for them (as the last African team standing), the U.S. has momentum from its dramatic win over Algeria. Side Note: Ghana’s only two group round goals were scored on penalty kicks.
– While Chile is fighting for a country that was battered by a major earthquake, Brazil’s team will prove to be too strong and talented.
KP’s Picks & Thoughts – Quarterfinals
United States OVER Uruguay
Brazil OVER Netherlands
Argentina OVER Germany
Portugal OVER Japan
– I love the United States’ chances to make the semifinals, especially if they manage to get past Ghana in the second round. Certainly, no game is a cakewalk at this point, but the US would match up well against Uruguay.
– I realize how talented the Dutch team is – and understand that many feel they haven’t peaked yet. If Brazil and the Netherlands met up in the quarterfinals, it could arguably be the best match of the entire tournament – but I refuse to bet against KaKa and Brazil.
KP’s Picks & Thoughts – Semifinals to the Championship
Brazil OVER United States
Argentina OVER Portugal
Third Place Game:
Portugal OVER United States
Argentina OVER Brazil
KP’s World Cup Champions: ARGENTINA
Call me crazy, but I’ve liked Argentina as a semi-darkhorse since the tournament began. There’s fire and energy from the players to the coaching staff.
After the group round, Argentina is tied for the lead in total goals (7), lead the World Cup in total shots (64) and also top the tournament in shots on goal, with 30. Gonzalo Higuein is tied for the lead in total goals (3) and popular star Lionel Messi has the most shots in the tournament with 20.
This World Cup has shown some similarities to the March Madness tournament, where surprises and upsets have occurred throughout – for example, France and Italy not just folding, but finishing last in their respective groups.
Therefore, in a World Cup of shockers – one that’s been borderline messy – it should come as no surprise that it would finish “Messi”.
In the end, when the dust is all settled – I pick Argentina to be the champs.
Who you got? Submit your picks to The Wife Hates Sports below!