The Quarterfinals are here!
Again I ask, ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED???
After having to throw away my initial bracket and create a new one for the Round of 16, I was excited to see that I was 7 for 8 in my predictions. Don’t believe me? Click here to see.
Here are my predictions for the semis.
France vs. Uruguay. You should know by now that I plan to ride the France train to the very end. But even if I wasn’t already committed and I wanted to be a bit more analytical about things, I would still give France the edge. With headlines reading ‘Cavani would have to destroy medical science to make France game,’ it’s going to be asking a lot for Uruguay to pull off the upset. On the other hand, as we saw against Argentina, France is hitting their stride. Mbappe is looking unstoppable, Giroud is being as good a hold-up forward as he ever has been, and the team looks up for it. Expect them to crack the Uruguayans’ almost impenetrable defense (They have only conceded one goal throughout the tournament) and earn their spot in the semi-finals.
Brazil vs. Belgium. I don’t expect Belgium to show Neymar as much respect as other teams have shown him in this thus far, I think we will probably see his best match of the tournament here. There’s no doubt about the attacking prowess of the Belgian squad, but their consistency in letting goals in will be their downfall. If we see anything similar to what we saw against Japan, Brazil will not be as kind. Look, I have never wanted to be wrong about a prediction as I do now. My heart is with the Belgians. I see many of them week in, week out in the EPL. One of my favorites of all time is their assistant manager. I feel like I know them. They are truly an individually talented team, and they have gelled even more since the last world cup. My heart is with them. But my head knows that Brazil is sending them home on Friday.
Russia vs. Croatia. Based on the Round of 16 matches, I think it’s fair to say that both teams could have been out of the tournament. Take nothing away from some of the acrobatic saves the goalies from both teams made, but penalty shoot-outs to me are hit or miss. You may as well draw lots. That being said, I love that Russia has made it this far, beyond expectations and have been a good host for the tournament, but is there really anyone who thinks they will make it past the Croatians? They haven’t scored a goal in open play in about 210 minutes of soccer, and they surely they can’t defend their way into the semis. Russia, this is where I leave you.
England vs. Sweden. I have been trying to write Sweden out of the world cup with my predictions. I didn’t bring them out of the group, and I certainly didn’t bring them into the quarters. Yet somehow, they’re still here. So I asked myself, am I missing something? Can they get into the semis? Can they win the world cup? Was Ibra holding them back? The answer to all is no. The ride stops here. Three Lions should see their way into the semis, and will live to say ‘It’s Coming Home’ another day.
Who do you got?