With the matchups for the knockout round set here are my predictions for this round of the 2010 World Cup.
Uruguay over South Korea. In group play Uruguay showed they are for real. South Korea is quick but I think that Uruguay will get by them and move to the quarterfinals.
Argentina over Mexico. Mexico has talent but not as much talent or as much depth as Argentina. I don’t think they can control Leo Messi for a ful 90 minutes. Argentina should easily get by Mexico.
United States over Ghana. After a last minute goal by Landon Donovan this team believes they are capable of anything. On top of that they are out to avenge the loss they suffered at the hands of Ghana during the ’06 campaign. As long as the US doesn’t fall behind early, I think they can win and move on.
Germany over England. Germany was one of the most impressive teams during the group stage while England didn’t look organized on the offensive third of the pitch. Wayne Rooney has not been a factor at all and I think that spells doom for the Three Lions against the Germans.
Netherlands over Slovakia. Not take anything away from the Slovakian team who is in the World Cup for the first time in their history, but Italy underperformed. The Dutch won’t do that and I don’t expect Slovakia to cope well with the Netherlands attack.
Japan over Paraguay. This game could go either way in my opinion. I think bo sides are evenly matched and both squads will be hungry for the win as neither team has ever advanced past this round of the tournament.
Brazil over Chile. Brazil has owned Chile historically and I don’t think that will change now. Brazil has too much firepower for this Chilean team. Brazil easily moves on.
Spain over Portugal. This has the potential to be the match of this first knockout round. These two nations are rivals and both have plenty of talent. The players know eachother well as most of them play in the Spanish La Ligua. I think Spain’s depth is the difference in this close match.