Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup Day 17: two world wars and one world cup!

Sunday sees a rematch of epic proportions and a game between the English and Germany (see what I did there?), as the matches in the top right quarter of bracket get underway.

The Germans don't really know there's a rivalry between England and them, while the English relish the chance at revenge, and chant such things as "Two world wars and one world cup!", referring to the one cup they won in 1966, beating the Germans in the final. Meanwhile, the Germans are far more focused on their rivalry with the Dutch. It's pretty amusing.

Argentina play Mexico in a Round 16 rematch of what was maybe the best game of the 2006 World Cup. The South Americans won that one 2-1, before going on to lose to Germany on penalties, a possibility this time as well.

My predictions

Germany v. England
England finally found their feet in their last group game, but it was against Slovenia. Now, Slovenia are no slouches (they qualified ahead of Russia, after all), but they are not Germany either. Germany are solid at the back, will attack with more skill and purpose than anyone England have faced, and have better personnel at their disposal.

I would hope that we've seen the last of Heskey as a starter for England; unfortunately we'll probably see Lampard and Gerrard shoehorned into the midfield. Consequently they'll crucially lack width on either the left or right side, depending on where Capello puts Gerrard. He drifts in to the middle, occupying the same space Lampard would be, and the same space Rooney drifts into if he doesn't get good service. I've posted a few more comments on this game over at the illustrious Daily Gumboot's World Cup posting.

I'm going for a 2-0 win for Germany, no reservations.

Argentina v. Mexico
This one is tough. Mexico could expose Argentina's shaky defence, but only if they see enough of the ball. South Korea tried, and Greece tried, but both were exposed at the back when they went forward. Mexico aren't the best defensive team, which will afford Messi and Co. some chances which they'll need to take.

I'm going with a 3-1 win to the Argentines, with massive reservations.

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