With the Round of 16 now completed its time PSD re-evaluated the final 8.
In this edition we’ll break down the quarter-final match-ups and give our prediction of the outcomes. We’ll go in the same order that they’ll be played.
Friday July 2nd – Two games.
What a match-up we have here!! Brazil’s loaded with 11 goal-scoring threats and The Dutch are finally fully healthy. Arjen Robben return to brilliance is the real key to this being a wonderful game. The Oranje have looked lack-luster with Rafael Van der Vaart ,the Real Madrid Midfielder, starting in Robben’s position. Though Rafael seemed to be working well with Robin Van Persie (history of not getting along) their duo is no where as lethal as when the balding sensation is in there. Brazil seemed to finally find their goal-scoring ways against Chile. Starting Dani Alves on the RW in place of Elano (Injuried for the rest of the WC) was a major key to their success. Dani gives them a bit more size and just flows better then the controlling Elano. Ramires was also a nice choice by Dunga – the athletic attacking mid really cut through the heart of the Chile defense and assisted on Robinho’s goal.
Both teams have the offensive fire power and the “at times” shaky defense to allow something brilliant to happen. This game for me comes down to the size factor. Brazil has dominated in games where they have been physically bigger (Juan’s header!!). The Dutch are closer to Portugal in size (especially in attack with Van Persie and Huntelaar). The Netherlands also play a more physical style of soccer. I picked the Dutch to win the whole darn thing and I just don’t see Brazil figuring things out quicker then Robben and Snjider can. It comes down to the CAM position – Kaka has never looked truly comfortable while the Wesley looks loose and ready for the task.
The Brazilians will have the tough task of figuring out who to start, while the Dutch line-up should mirror there Slovakia game. Brazil has also done really well on set pieces and the Dutch are to skilled in possession to give away numerous chances for set piece success. I do believe both teams will score and score early. The half will see them tied at 2-2 as Robben and Van Persie net home for the Dutch and Luis Fabiano and Robinho score for the Samba boys. A tough second half will see a brilliant set-piece by the Dutch lead to a Dirk Kuyt goal and then a late goal by Elia will see the Dutch through to the Semi’s!! 4-2 Holland over Brazil.
Ghana the only African team still alive has to deal with one hell of a trio of goal scorers. Diego Forlan, Edinson Cavani, and Luis Suarez lead the way for the Sky Blues. A stout defense with the Diego’s (Godin and Lugano) and baby-faced goalie Fernando Muslera have looked great most of the time. Its hard to really see how Ghana can pull off a victory. BUT!!! Gyan (ankle injury has been played down!!) and the speed they have up front can indeed be difference makers. The way Kevin-Prince Boateng seems to fear no man is really the backbone of this YOUNG team. They have a swagger about them. It might have a lot to do with the fact that their leader Michael Essien is injured for the whole tournament. His replacement Anthony Annan has done a wonderful job of controlling and finding the offensive runs that have lead to Ghana’s chances in games. With vets like Stephen Appiah and Sully Muntari coming off the bench this young team doesn’t have that “old” voice calming them down. The vets in defense (Mensah – John that is and Pantsil) have never been vocal and its been the kids who’ve stepped up. Kevin-Prince has gone from a role player for Portsmouth to one of the up and coming stars from this World Cup. A victory over Uruguay and KPB is going to be the HOT topic. He has size, speed and a mean attitude that gives him his endless motor. His homeland (Germany) HATES him for injuring Michael Ballack (though some can argue that helped the team the same way Essien’s absence has pulled the Ghana team together) and its that Hatred that has given KPB that chip-on-his-shoulder. I do think Ghana will keep this one close. But Luis Suarez has not stopped scoring freaking goals since 2008 and I can’t see him stopping anytime soon. Add on a late winner from Diego Forlan and you see Africa join North America (Mexico and USA) and Asia (South Korea and Japan) as continents OUT of it. Uruguay 2 to 1 over the game but to young Ghana team.
Saturday, July 3rd
Green Point Stadium -
My favorite stadium!! This game is going to have the best chance for fireworks. Maradona’s Men vs the Young Germans. Klose shooting for the goal-scoring record. Muller establishing himself as the front runner to break whatever record Klose can set (if he can reach Ronaldo’s 16). Podolski reminding the world just how bad ass he really can be when he tries. Hell Jurgen Klinsman’s analysis and comments are worth watching any German game (anyone think he’d be a great USA Coach!!). The South Americans only have the best player in the world!! O and they have there own goal-scoring machine in Gonzalo Higuan. Carlos Tevez’ epic runs are becoming more a delight with each passing game. There is so many weapons and both teams play to those goal-scorers. Joachim Low has his bunch acting fearless while Maradona’s antics have taken ALL the pressure off his guys. This game would have been a hell of a final, but is a real treat as a Quarterfinal. Its another chance for South America vs Europe talk. Its a great comment on building a team from with in the structure Low took over from Klinsman while Maradona is the exact opposite – a Hero changing the game. Sky Blue and White vs Black and Gold with Red sprinkled in – gosh there colors even contrast perfectly. Lets not forget the MAIN ingredient – this is the SAME QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UP where Germany knocked out the South Americans!! Which if you remember saw a HORRIBLE confrontation from numerous players just following the Germans penalty kick win. Revenge is going to be a key word for the Argentinians. Its the BIG Germans and the SMALL Argentinians. Gosh everything seems to make this match-up PERFECT. So I see Argentina’s speed causing problems early and the shocker of a 3-1 halftime score should be fun. Germany’s lone first-half goal scorer is also there spark plug in the second half – Bastian Schweinsteiger has been relatively QUIET this World Cup and that ends on Saturday. The #7 has a lethal free-kick and also has a rocket leg. A cracking spot-kick keeps the Germans alive in the first half. Two beautiful thru passes by Schweinsteiger helps Klose and Muller score the equalizers all before the 75th minute mark. Lionel Messi takes over in the 80th, using only Tevez on a give-an-go, by a masterful run through the heart of the German defense. He slips the ball over to an on-rushing Higuan and 4-3 is our score. The game appears destined for the South Americans to move on. BEFORE the whistle blows, Lukas Podolski’s rocket from 20 yards out puts the game into extra time. Both teams get into a scuffle after the whistle does finally blow. After order is restored with a few yellow cards and stern words the game starts up in EXTRA TIME. The first 15 minutes are used more to keep there energy. A stalemate is broken up with mere minutes left in the second 15 minutes of extra time. The real star of the German team Mezut Ozil slips past the Argentina defense for a one-v-one with Romero. The young stud pulls a sick trick before calmly netting home the GAME Winner. 5-4 Germany ousts Argentina in an ALL-TIME classic – Maradona is so distraught he sells both of his watches for an ounce of African coke and is found deep in the Soweto Ghetto days later. He tells the Argentinian people he was merely reenacting District 9 and is forgiven. Germany moves on to another damn semi-final berth.
Sadly the last game may well be the most boring. Paraguay went into shell mode AGAINST JAPAN!!! What the eff will they do against SPAIN – 9 defenders? Can’t blame them, Portugal lasted an hour without letting the Spanish score. So it’ll be up to the Spanish to apply pressure. Fernando Torres has looked extremely bored out there for the World’s #1 team and its really sad because David Villa is becoming a superstar in front of the world. Barcelona is looking like legit winners for best signing of the summer – Villa is INCREDIBLE. Andres Iniesta is still the main guy for the team though. His incredible pose, control and vision have been the real reason the Spanish have looked so damn good. Minus a crazy opener with the Swiss they’ve been just fine.
Paraguay needs its aged vet Roque Santa Cruz to wake the hell up. This team had NO offensive push against a defensive minded Japanese side. Gosh this game will be a beating!! Spain will struggle with having to play so many defenders, but they’ll score just after the second half begins. Fernando Torres quiets his critiques and gives Liverpool fans (and new Manager Roy Hodgson) something to smile about. Xavi steals a midfield pass and quickly sets up a running Iniesta. Andres pulls two defenders to him and frees up Torres for his own run. The tall striker blast home an easy goal. With the 0-0 score broken the Spanish lay back. We’re treated to beautiful passing around for 30 minutes. Spain face a total of 3 shots on goal – Iker is seen nodding off and even waves over at his hot ass girlfriend (she’s a broadcaster that is covering the team for here Spanish TV station).