Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup Day 19 predictions: Will Ronaldo cry when Spain beat Portugal?

I think he will, actually. He's a pretty passionate fellow.

From a relatively easy day to call today we move on to a much harder day, with Spain facing Iberian rivals Portugal and Paraguay hosting Japan. Either could be dynamite matches: Spain-Portugal has the potential to be either wild or dull, depending on Spain's tactics, and Paraguay-Japan should be exciting if a bit sloppy.

This guy will be cheering for Spain

Spain v. Portugal

This is the marquee match-up of the Round of 16, unless you're English, in which case you've already whinged to everyone around you about the reffing travesty and should get on with things and watch a team with skill play the game.

I think this will be a replay of the Spain-Chile match; Portugal have a much tighter backline and Spain will struggle to score while Portugal can open up defences. Spain will have greater belief after a good win in that match against Chile while Portugal could feel a slight letdown after their boring 0-0 draw with Brazil.

Ronaldo (spits on ground) still hasn't performed at anywhere near his best, only scoring a lucky goal in Portugal's magnificent 7-0 victory over North Korea, and scoring the 6th goal of 7 doesn't mean much.

Will Torres finally score? I don't think so. Luckily for Spain David Villa is on fire and Iniesta is back to good health. Portuguese left-back could expose the spaces Sergio Ramos leaves on the right side of Spain's backline; Ramos won't be quite so aggressive as he likes.

When all's said, I'm picking Spain to win 1-0. Fewer goals than one might expect given the firepower these two teams have.

Paraguay v. Japan

One pundit said this could be a cracker, and I'm inclined to agree. I can't get too excited about this, though, as the winner will likely lose in the quarters to Spain and I don't really care if it's Japan or Paraguay.

Japan were impressive in their last win over Denmark, and had a couple of chances against the Dutch. Paraguay were solid in all three games in their group, and looked flexible, attacking with intent when necessary, defending well when they needed to.

Without much thought, then... 2-1 to Paraguay.

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