Friday, June 25, 2010
WORLD CUP: ROUND OF 16 PREVIEW
No more ties from here on out. One team wins and progresses, another team loses and goes home.
Just a reminder, if teams are tied after 90 minutes, they play a 30 minute overtime period, which is NOT sudden death. Then they go into penalty kicks if still tied after that.
10:00 AM - ESPN: Uruguay vs. South Korea
Uruguay tied France, beat Mexico, and beat South Africa. They have not allowed a goal, and they're probably playing the most efficient and disciplined of all the teams in South Africa. South Korea has some talent, but barely survived their group. Had Nigeria not blown a 1-0 lead against lowly Greece, they might not still be around. Argentina humiliated them, and I think Uruguay will beat them with relative ease. 2-0 Uruguay.
2:30 PM - ABC: USA vs. Ghana
Ghana ended USA's 2006 World Cup. And you can bet players like Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey remember that. The US has to play poised and comfortable, which they historically struggle to do more than anything. They get nervous in big games. Then they make mistakes. They let a bad break crush them. They miss easy shots. They'll hesitate, then they'll rush. I'm afraid I have to pick Ghana to win 2-1. I don't want to, but it's what my gut's telling me.
10:00 AM - ESPN: Germany vs. England
This is a titanic rivalry. England beat Germany in the '66 Final. England beat Germany in two World Wars. They've met 27 times, and England have a slight edge with 12 wins, compared to Germany's 10. When they meet, it's epic. But this year neither squad is all that good. England only scored twice in three games. Germany lost to Serbia, and barely beat Ghana. England have a bunch of overrated individualists, while Germany fields the 2nd youngest team in the tournament. But I think Deutschland's big defenders stymie the English attack, Klose scores his 12th World Cup goal, and Podolski also gets onto the scoresheet. Germany 2, England 1.
2:30 PM - ABC: Argentina vs. Mexico
Get ready for some action. Argentina might be the most offensively gifted team in the tournament. But Mexico are no slouches. But Argentina has so much talent, so many weapons, they'll wear Mexico down to a nub, and prevail 4-2.
I'll have the preview of the other 4 games on Monday morning.