Let the World Cup knock-out round begin

Jun 27, 2014 by

Let the World Cup knock-out round begin

We have witnessed an extraordinary World Cup chalk full of surprises thus far, including the strange biting incident that has seen Luis Suarez banned from the tournament. Thankfully, we have seen very few ties, lots of goal scoring, and numerous upsets including the elimination of a number of World powers out of Europe including defending champion Spain, Italy, and Portugal (I’m sorry but England is not an elite team). After the round robin I think it’s fair to say that one can have a fairly good sense of where the World Cup is headed. Holland, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Columbia have to be considered among the top-tier of teams that should be classified among the favorites to win. France, Belgium and Chile must be viewed as legitimate threats to have deep runs, but each of these teams will have to pull off a significant upset in order to elevate their status as true contenders. Everyone else must be considered long shots, yes even Greece.

Holland has been particularly impressive in defeating two top ten calibre teams in Chile and Spain and should have the easiest path to the semi-final where they are likely to face Argentina or Belgium. On the other side of the bracket the mighty and methodical Germans seem poised for a deep run that will likely result in a tough semi-final matchup with a top South American team in Brazil, Columbia or Chile. It really is too early to name a favorite but I think Holland, Columbia and Germany have looked the best thus far. I still think my Argentina v. Germany final prediction can play out and I’ll stick with my pre-tournament convictions, but after watching the majority of the round robin, I think the wild cards to usurp this matchup are the Dutch and Brazil.

Holland’s 5-1 annihilation of Spain was a message to the soccer world that they are looking to avenge their 2010 final loss. Historically, they have been a highly touted, talented and enigmatic team which can look so thoroughly dominant for much of the tournament only to bow out when it matters most. It’s too early to tell if this year is any different, but they have the talent and a favourable bracket, giving them a great opportunity to finally win a World Cup.

Brazil on the other hand seems like a team that is an interesting work in progress to watch. They are young and extremely talented, but are they too inexperienced to make the leap to become champions? I think Brazil’s road is the toughest to the final and that they are likely to succumb either to Columbia or Germany along the way. Nonetheless, Neymar and Oscar are special talents and they have home field advantage which could prove to be an important x–factor in their favour. I’m unconvinced that they are strong enough in their back-end to win, but you can never rule out Brazil until they are beaten. For the sake of the tournament I hope they can at least achieve a semi-final result, but they first must beat a wonderfully entertaining and skilled Chilean team very much capable of the upset in the round of 16.

It is too early to feel too confident about any one team thus far. No one has looked unbeatable, and even the favorites have looked vulnerable to much weaker opponents. I still feel confident that Argentina and Germany are going to meet in the final, but the Dutch have the swagger of a champion and Brazil must be considered a serious threat until they have been eliminated. For the fans of the game the 2014 World Cup has been an awesome display of the world’s best sporting spectacle. It’s a real joy to watch players perform at such a high level with the talent of Messi, Persie, Neymar, Rodriguez, Mueller and so on and so on. As a sports fan, I wish this was an annual tournament. It’s really a shame it has to end, but before we lament the end of the tournament lets enjoy the knock-out round on the road to the World Cup final beginning in a few hours time.

1 Comment

  1. Adam

    I think the Dutch take it…. My original pics were Germany with Argentina as an alternate, but the Dutch are on fire… I agree, England is not a legit powerhouse. As long as Brazil loses I will remain content.

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