The round of 16 is over and now we can start getting serious: The quarterfinals are upon us and we’re down to the last eight teams standing in this 2014 World Cup. Who’s advancing? Who are the contenders? Who’s living on borrowed time? Let’s find out!
I believe that we will … win?
Despite a valiant effort against Belgium, the USA’s run at this World Cup ended in a 2-1 defeat. Considering the fact that few expected the USA to get out of the first round and the ‘Group of Death,’ I think we can call this World Cup a success. One thing is for sure, we gave Belgium all they could handle and then some. Even when we went two goals down in overtime, USA got one goal back to make the Belgians nervous in the closing minutes. Still, it wasn’t enough.
So, there’s really no point in watching any more, is there?
This isn’t over yet! We have lots of (hopefully) amazing soccer ahead of us. All four quarterfinals are going to be worth watching, so let’s take a peek and live dangerously by making some predictions, shall we?
Friday, July 4
France vs. Germany, ESPN, 11 a.m.
Probably the most intriguing of the quarterfinal match-ups, France and Germany both destroyed teams in the group stage and struggled in the group stage and second round before advancing to the quarterfinals. Expect both teams to bring their respective A games; with a cavalcade of European stars on both teams, this should make this a potential classic.
Prediction: You won’t like Germany when they’re angry, France. Miroslav Klose will have his record-setting goal!
Brazil vs. Colombia, ESPN, 3 p.m.
I’m not sold on Brazil. Neymar might be an amazing soccer player, but he just doesn’t have the supporting cast he needs around him to really dominate the later stages of this tournament. Brazil drew against Mexico in the group stages and needed to survive overtime and penalty kicks to dispatch Chile. Now they face Colombia, which has wunderkind James Rodriguez, a good supporting cast around him and speed — lots of it.
Prediction: Time’s up, Brazil. Vamos Colombia!
Saturday, July 5
Belgium vs. Argentina, ABC, 11 a.m.
If you think Brazil has been living dangerously, meet Argentina. Lionel Messi might well be the best in the world, but he’s a one-man show carrying the weight of an entire country on his shoulders. I think the USA might have done Belgium a favor by shaking them out of their group stage doldrums and getting the Red Devils ready to be the dark horses they’re supposed to be.
Prediction: Waffles and french fries over tango and beef, I’m afraid. Belgium advances, Argentina goes home.
Netherlands vs. Costa Rica, ESPN, 3 p.m.
I don’t know what’s happened to the Ticos, but I hope they fix it by the time they play the Dutch. They looked flat and lacked their usual attacking flair against Greece. If they want a shot against the Netherlands, who should have Robin Van Persie back, they’re going to have to bring back that team that beat Italy, Uruguay and drew with England.
Prediction: I think Cinderella turns into a pumpkin. Netherlands advance and Costa Rica goes home.