Friday, June 23, 2006

Gotta knock them out now !!

Game One (24,June)
Germany Vs. Sweden

Germany have a well organised attack and defense, Strong midfield, Home support, Tradition and Habbit to win !! They like to keep it simple , no-nonsense kinda team, so u wont find them doing anything special but they do all the basic things with perfection.
Sweden are a hardworking lot and can perform well on their day. They have two great strikers in Larrson and Ibrahimovic but still are having troubles finding the back of the net.
The only chance they have is that German defence looks a bit shaky sometimes, Wanchope & Co. found a few holes in the opening game.

Prediction : Germany to win 1-0.


Game Two (24,June)
Argentina Vs. Mexico

Argentina are the hot favourites to win this competition and have already shown what they can do (6-0 demolition of Serbia). They play free-flowing football with lotsa short and one touch passes.Though there are doubts whether their style would work against european defensive play( failed to score against Dutch). The only way to break them is to catch them on the break as they have a tendency to push all their players forward.
Mexico havent really impressed. They qualified through one of the easier groups and even though put up a spiritd performance against Portugal still have a lot to improve.

Prediction: Argentina to win 2-0.


Game Three (25,June)
England Vs. Ecuador

England havent really played upto their full potential as yet. Their defence looks shaky (as Sweden found out) . Owen is out so Crouch will partner Rooney (The Man) upfront. They will have to be really alert against Ecuador otherwise they could be punished.
Ecuador have been the surprise package this time. Really impressed everyonewith two solid wins over Poland and Costa Rica in the first round. But they lost to Germany rather easily so still have a point to prove against the big teams.

Prediction : England to win 1-0


Game Four (25,June)
Holland Vs. Portugal

This is the big one. Portugal are stronger both on paper and form. Portugal beat them in the Euro 2004 semi-finals too.
The Dutch have got a young team and lack experience but their mantra is clear : DONT LOSE , as they followed it succesfully against Argentina, they will sit back and ensure that they dont concede a goal and then try to score on the break, and with Robben on fire they can do that.

Prediction : match will end in a draw 1-1 , and go into shoot-out. Cant predict after that. ;-)
Game five (26,June)
Italy Vs. Australia
Italy, after an initial scare, came through comfortably and are looking solid. Their defence is probably the best in germany right now(Cannavaro-Nesta partnership is pretty hard to break.) and they conceded just one(an unfortunate owngoal) in the group stage. They look to score goals from Set-pieces and can be succesfull too with pirlo delivering inch perfect balls in the box.
Aussies have put up a brilliant display, its their first finals in 40 years and they've reached the 2nd round. They have good attacking line up with Kewell and Viduka upfront. Almost scored against Brazil, though i have my doubts regarding their defencive abilities. So if they are to advance they shouldnt sit back, rather they should go all out and try to score because italy will surely score at some stage.
Prediction : Italy to win 1-0
Game Six (26,June)
Switzerland Vs. Ukraine
Swiss are the only team not to concede a goal in the first round. Needless to say they have tight defence. Also have goalscorers in Hakan and Frie. They have a real good opportunity here to reach the quarterfinals as i feel they can beat Ukraine if they perfoem as well as they have been.
Ukraine, after the initial drubbing by spain came back strongly against saudi arabia, but they lack international experience. They have one of the Europe's hottest strikers upfront (Shevchenko) but he still has a point to prove on the big stage. Overall they are a nice side but will have to improve if they are to beat the Swiss.
Prediction : Switzerland to win 2-1.
Game Seven (27,June)
Brazil Vs. Ghana
After two sluggish wins the Brazilians finally found their touch back in the 2nd half against Japan and most importantly Ronaldo scored(He is now the joint all time top scorer in world cups). I dont really see Ghana causing them any troubles.
Ghana : the only African team in the 2nd round(btw there is no Asian team). They have been brave and confident but now they will need something more than that specially when they will be without their talisman striker Gyan against World champions and title favs. Brazil.
Prediction : Brazil to win 3-1
Game Eight (27,June)
Spain Vs. France
This is the other big game of this round besides the holland-portugal match. Spain are better on form. Torres looks sharp and they will definitely score so if they can keep french at bay from their goal they cud win.
France look lost as ever in front of goal. Though the win against Togo will boost their confidence and Zidane will return for the next game but they still cant finish off and their passing is average. But they have some great players in Henry, Zidane, Viera and with Saha on the bench you never know ,they could send spain off to catch an early flight back home.
Prediction : Spain to win 1-0


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