2014 World Cup Brazil: Knockout Stage Predictions

June 11, 2014
By K. Becks

All of the group previews have been completed. If you have yet to read any of them, I have graciously posted links to each group below in case you don’t know how to navigate the home page.

Group A Group B

Group C Group D

Group E Group F

Group G Group H

As fun as the group stage will be, even the casual fans know that things really start to heat up during the knockout stage. Winner stays, loser goes home. It’s that simple, but at the same time it’s rarely ever simple. Extra time. Shootouts. There will be plenty of drama come the Round of 16.

To cap off Around The Corn’s World Cup preview series, I’ll take you through the knockout stage as I see it unfolding. Chances are good that I’ll re-preview these matches once everything is set after group play.

Let’s preview the Knockout Stage.

Round of 16

Brazil (A1) vs. Chile (B2)

In a relative shocker, Chile ends up being the only South American squad that Brazil plays the entire tournament (sorry Argentina). Although fitness should not be an issue with both teams being accustomed to the sweltering heat, the Seleção will be a bit too much for their continental rivals.

Winner: Brazil

Ivory Coast (C1) vs. Italy (D2)

There’s a lot of talent on the pitch in this match, especially at midfield. But for as much of an accomplishment it is for the Ivory Coast to finally make it out of group play, the party won’t last long. The Italians bring too much firepower up front for the Elephants suspect defense to handle.

Winner: Italy

Switzerland (E1) vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina (F2)

Expect Bosnia-Herzegovina to become the darlings of the entire tournament even before it makes it to the Knockout Stage. But this match sets up very nicely for the first time Cup participants and a trip to the quarterfinals is definitely within reach.

Winner: Bosnia-Herzegovina

Germany (G1) vs. Russia (H2)

Russia will make it out of Group H with superb defense, so this isn’t to take anything away from that. But the Germans are so much more skilled up front than anything Russia will face in its first three matches, so don’t expect one goal to be enough to move on to the quarterfinals in this game.

Winner: Germany

Spain (B1) vs. Mexico (A2)

Bad news has seemed to follow Mexico for a while now leading up to this World Cup, so here’s some more for El Tri: if it manages to make it out of Group A, Spain likely awaits. FIFA’s top ranked squad isn’t going to take it easy on Mexico, so good luck to them trying to create chances with very little ball possession.

Winner: Spain

Uruguay (D1) vs. Japan (C2)

Japan is scrappy, so there is the potential for this one to get interesting and for Suarez to get sent off in dramatic fashion. Uruguay has the advantage up front, but don’t discount Japan’s ability to score just enough goals to stay alive until a shootout.

Winner: Uruguay

Argentina (F1) vs. France (E2)

Had Franck Ribery not gotten hurt, this would have been a terrific Round of 16 matchup (although it probably wouldn’t happen). But since he did, Argentina may just have too much for France to handle in this one. France will look for someone to step up in a huge way to survive this test.

Winner: Argentina

Belgium (H1) vs. Portugal (G2)

Portugal may be the No. 4 team in the world, but we’ll have a pretty good idea of just how good it really is after group play. If Ronaldo isn’t in top form, the door is open for Belgium to continue to take advantage of good situations. Plus, having one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament only helps against one of its best goal poachers.

Winner: Belgium

Quarterfinals

Brazil vs. Italy

Italy can survive despite being a bit too old and a bit suspect defensively up to this point, but not any longer. Brazil will expose the Azzurri and send it home en route to a spot in the semis.

Winner: Brazil

Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Germany

The feel good story of the tournament finally runs out of gas in the quarterfinals. Bosnia-Herzegovina made a good run of it, but the Germans aren’t going to let an upstart ruin their chances of World Cup glory. Expect an exciting, high scoring affair where for awhile it appears the Bosnian side could actually do the unthinkable. But alas, it won’t happen.

Winner: Germany

Spain vs. Uruguay

Talk about a heavyweight battle. There’s the feeling that a team like Uruguay has what it takes to finally dethrone Spain, but that’s exactly the type of situation La Furia Roja loves. Doubt them for a minute, and they’ll remind you why it’s been almost three years running at the top.

Winner: Spain

Argentina vs. Belgium

Belgium is definitely good enough to pull the upset on the Argentinians, but it’ll be difficult to do so playing in front of a mostly pro-Albiceleste crowd and on South American turf. If Thibaut Courtois has a magical game defending the net, then maybe Belgium’s attack can keep up with Messi & Co. But probably not. Argentina is on a mission, and Belgium isn’t experienced enough to thwart that.

Winner: Belgium

Semifinals

Brazil vs. Germany

It’s really a shame that this match has to take place in the semis and not the final. These are probably the two best teams in the tournament and the winner will likely be favored to hoist the Cup five days later. Germany is technically sound and won’t give anything away, but there is something about Brazil wanting to make up for 1950 that almost makes it seem like destiny. This is can’t miss television for 90 minutes, but in the end the host country will be celebrating.

Winner: Brazil

Spain vs. Argentina

The second of two can’t miss semifinal games, once again between a European and South American squad. Argentina has the personnel capable of giving Spain’s defense trouble, and the way La Albiceleste attacks sets up nicely against Spain’s smaller defenders. Plus, no team in the tournament wants to win more desperately except Brazil. But with all that being said, the Beautiful Game will beat the exciting one. Spain is careful, controlled and confident and will be able to stifle Argentina when it matters most.

Winner: Spain

Third Place Game

Germany vs. Argentina

In a game that is notorious for producing a lot of goals, Argentina will put on a show for the crowd while Germany may still be thinking about the chance it won’t get in the final. Die Mannschaft is good enough to win this one, but Argentina will care more which makes all the difference.

Winner: Argentina

Finals

Brazil vs. Spain

Even if you decide not to watch any of the games leading up to this one, you’d be excited to see these two squads on the slate to cap off the 2014 World Cup. I don’t need to write much about this one right now, partly in an effort not to jinx what I hope comes to fruition. But there is no doubt that it’d be an epic showdown in Estádio do Maracanã.

Winner: Brazil

Individual Award Predictions

Golden Ball (Best Player) – Xavi, Spain midfielder

Golden Boot (Top Goalscorer) – Lionel Messi, Argentina forward

Golden Glove (Best Goalkeeper) – Thibaut Courtois, Belgium goalkeeper

Best Young Player – Paul Pogba, France midfielder

FIFA Fair Play Trophy – Spain

- K. Becks

One Response to 2014 World Cup Brazil: Knockout Stage Predictions

  1. [...] major news outlets and a higher probability that you’ll read this article. Remember, I did do this just a couple of weeks [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*