World Cup 2022 Predictions For The Knockout Rounds

Anyone else find it odd to be catching World Cup games while you’re doing Christmas shopping? I think this may be the last World Cup where the Round of 16 will kick off the knockout round. As many of you know, the next World Cup will be having a field of 48 teams. It’s unclear how they’ll do the second stage. It could be the knockout stage starts with a “Round of 32.” Or it could be a second set of group play. Four World Cups — 1950, 1974, 1978 and 1982 — did have a second set of group play. In the meantime, it hangs in the balance and is up for FIFA to decide.

As for 2022, the sixteen teams for the knockout round have been decided over the past thirteen days of group play. I don’t know about you but this seems like the fastest World Cup I’ve ever seen. With 3/4 of the total games completed, the play was quite something. Qatar became the first host nation to lose all three of their group games. Senegal is the most notable of many nations fined by FIFA for managers not bringing a player with them during a pre-game press conference. Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey became the first player of the Cup to get an instant red card. South Korea coach Paulo Bento had the rare achievement of a coach being given a red card. VAR use has caused excessive additions of stoppage time. It’s also been the subject of some controversial goal calls like one disallowed for France and another all owed for Japan. There were surprise losses like Argentina falling to Saudi Arabia, Germany to Japan and Belgium to Morocco. With six goals, Germany became the highest-scoring team that failed to advance. Speaking of Germany, highly lauded teams like Germany, Belgium and Uruguay didn’t advance, and the three teams that were guaranteed advancement after their second games lost their final match with a -1 goal differential. I guess they figured since they were already guaranteed, why put in the effort?

What can I say? Every World Cup has their shocking moments and controversies. There were a lot of good things that have happened during the World Cup. First of all, only three red cards have been given out. Only two own-goals have been scored. Every team in Qatar scored at least one goal and the goal average is 2.5 per game right now. Attendance for games has been excellent. Their lowest-attended match was just over 39,000 and their highest-attended match so far was Argentina vs. Mexico with just about 89,000. The World Cup attendance record is over 91,000 for the 1994 Final. Television broadcast has been excellent and American television has it highest-ever World Cup ratings. Plus this Cup’s knockout round makes it only the second ever to consist of teams from all six continents! On a Canadian note, Canada had the relief of only finishing second-last! Thanks, Qatar! Actually I don’t feel too bad. Like I illustrated in my previous blog, the team was mostly young and I think the team was had a bigger focus on 2026 when we co-host instead of 2022. Best of luck to the team!

Anyways enough about my blabbing about the previous 48 games. We’re heading to the knockout round where each round separates the contenders from the pretenders. Here’s my look at the first two sets of knockout rounds.


This is where it all starts. The sixteen being reduced to eight, the quarterfinals reducing the eight to four, the semifinals reducing the four to the two to play in the final for the Cup. The knockout format is the same it’s been since 2006 for which team from which group plays who. We have some interesting pairings to start off with. So here I go starting my predictions for the Round of 16. For my predictions, I will be taking into account their play here in Qatar as well as past head-to-head results. Note that my pick to win will be in bold.


The first Round of 16 match will be contested between two teams that didn’t qualify for 2018 and are obviously eager to be back. For the Netherlands, it all started with a 2-0 win against Senegal, then a 1-1 draw against Ecuador and finalized with a 2-0 win against hosts Qatar. The US opened their World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Wales followed by a scoreless draw against England. The US knew they needed nothing less than a win against Iran to advance. It just took a single goal from Christian Pulisic at the 38th minute to book the US to the knockout phase.

For this opener, I will have to go with the Netherlands. In head-to-head, The Netherlands have won four times while the US won only once. On top of it, the US has a team mostly of young men. The Netherlands has a well-seasoned team of young and experienced players. That’s why I feel it’s Oranje’s for the taking.


The second Round of 16 match is between two teams that couldn’t be more different in reputations. One team hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1970, advanced past the opening stage 14 out of 18 times, and even won the Cup twice. The other has competed in only six World Cups, this being their fifth consecutive, and just advanced to the Round of 16 only for the second time ever. Both teams lost their opening match but won the other two. Argentina opened with a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. The Albiceleste knew they needed nothing but wins for qualification and their reputation, and they delivered with 2-0 wins over Mexico and Poland. Australia opened with a big loss to France 4-1. However the Socceroos did what they needed to do with 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark.

As for the match, this will be the eighth time the two will square off. In the past, Argentina won five times and Australia has only won once. Even though this is the World Cup where Australia has had their best-ever group play, I expect the magic to end here. I’m sure this will be a clear victory for Argentina with a big score.


It’s something how instead of being subject to the alleged curse of the defending champion, France was actually the first team to qualify, thanks to winning 4-1 against Australia and 2-1 against Denmark. Les Bleus had the luxury of losing 1-0 to Tunisia in its last game (Tunisia’s first-ever win over France) and still finish top of the group! Poland didn’t have it as easy. They started with a scoreless draw against Mexico, won against Saudi Arabia 2-0 but ended with a 2-0 loss to Argentina. Nevertheless their game stats and goal differentials held up to take the Eagles to the knockout round for the first time since 1986!

This Round of 16 pairing will become the seventeenth time the two will have dueled each other. France has won eight times before while Poland has won three times before. I will have to go with France because they’ve shown more consistency and have been better at scoring.


For England, it was another chance to start the chase on football glory. The team headed by coach Gareth Southgate is seen by many as the best England team ever. In its opening game against Iran, they proved they were ready by winning 6-2. Against the US, they came to a scoreless draw. Then against common rivals Wales, they delivered big in the second-half winning 3-0. For Senegal, it was a chance to get the berth that eluded them by such a close call four years ago. It actually started on a bad note as they lost to the Netherlands 2-0. Against Qatar, they were able to prove themselves better, winning 3-1. Then their match against Ecuador. Whoever won qualified, and it was Senegal that stepped up to the challenge winning 2-1.

This will be the first ever match between England and Senegal. They have never dueled before. It’s hard to tell, but I feel it will be England that will take it. Senegal have proven themselves to be more than what most people expected, but England has continued to show their brilliance and team chemistry on the field.


When a group has big-name teams like Spain or Germany, you think you’re chances are over, right? Not Japan. They opened with a 2-1 win over Germany and ended with another 2-1 win to Spain. Even a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica didn’t stop Samurai Blue from topping Group E. On to Croatia. Interesting that the group play of this World Cup has amassed six nil-nil draws, and Croatia was part of two of them! Despite that, they had the biggest win of Group F play: 4-1 against Canada. That gave The Blazers what they needed to qualify to the knockout round for the third time!

Now down to the game. Two different teams. One has been to the Top 3 of the World Cup twice, the other is eager to win their first ever World Cup knockout match. The two have squared off only three times ever, with Croatia winning once (in World Cup 1998), Japan winning once, and a draw. I feel this will be a very tight match. Judging by their play these past two weeks. both teams are roughly parallel in scoring and defending. I feel this will be a tight came that would end in a draw, with Croatia winning on penalty kicks.


When people watch the World Cup, most people want to see what Brazil has to offer. Brazil opened with a 2-0 win over Serbia, with both goals coming from Richarlison. Brazil followed it up with a 1-0 win over Switzerland With qualification secured, Brazil could afford to lose to Cameroon 1-0 and still top Group G. For South Korea, they opened with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay and endured a 3-2 loss to Ghana. They needed a win against Portugal to advance and nothing less, and they got it 2-1! Their big scoring in their Ghana loss gave them the edge against Uruguay in advancing to the knockout stage for the third time ever.

This match will become the eighth time Brazil and South Korea will have faced off. In their seven previous matches, Brazil won six. This is their first time squaring off at the World Cup. Brazil may have been rather tame compared to the Brazil we’re used to seeing while South Korea has delivered consistently. I pick Brazil to win it.


Interesting this is the Round of 16 match has two teams with the least geographical separation! Just the Aiboran Sea separating the two! Before the World Cup play, I had a feeling nations with desert climates might have an advantage in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Iran scored surprise wins, but neither of them qualified. Morocco, on the other hand, delivered their best World Cup group play results ever. The Atlas Lions opened with a scoreless draw against Croatia, but went onto a surprise 2-0 win over Belgium and a 2-1 win over Canada. This is their second time qualifying to the knockout round and first since 1986! Their rivals Spain opened brilliantly with a 7-0 win over Costa Rica. After that, La Furia Roja were lacklustre with a 1-1 draw to Germany and a 2-1 loss to Japan.

Now onto the game. The two have met three times before. Morocco has never won. Spain won twice. Their one draw was a 2-2 draw at the 2018 World Cup. I have a feeling with Morocco pulling a lot of surprises, they will take this game in added extra time.


Even before Qatar 2022 began, Portugal was one of the headliners. Possibly because this is likely to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last chance to win the Cup. They secured their qualification with a 3-2 win over Ghana and a 2-0 win over Uruguay. With their qualification already clinched, the Selecao could afford to lose 2-1 over South Korea and still top Group H. Switzerland arrived with low expectations here in Qatar. They proved a lot as they first won 1-0 against Cameroon, then lost 1-0 to Brazil, but ended their run with a 3-2 win over Serbia. Their two wins were just what they needed to advance for the eighth time and third consecutive.

This will be the 26th time Portugal and Switzerland will have challenged each other. In their previous 25 duels, Switzerland has won eleven times while Portugal has won nine. In their ten most recent matches, Portugal has won more often but Switzerland won the last match 1-0 back in June. For this one, I think it will go to Portugal in added extra time.


Very rarely do I make another blog about quarterfinal predictions. Only if my Round Of 16 predictions end up being dreadfully way off would I go out of my way to make a new blog of quarterfinal predictions. So assuming that my Round Of 16 winners do in fact win, here are my predictions for the quarterfinals:

UPDATE – December 7, 2022: I can’t believe it! All eight of my predictions were right! That means the teams I predicted to be in what quarterfinal tuned out to be right. Since the Round of 16 matches ended, I did some minor updates on the predictions below. The play from the Round of 16 shifted my opinion a bit on the teams.


It’s interesting the two matches they had. Croatia’s match against Japan was a case the Japanese scored first, but Croatia led the second-half to equalize. It came down to penalty kicks and Croatia did it. Brazil was a case that they won their first two games, but they looked relaxed in their play. Even that loss to Cameroon can be seen as holding back. Whatever the situation, it was like the sizzle Brazil is famous for exploded in their win over South Korea.

The two have faced off against each other four times before. Brazil winning three times and a draw the other. Two of those Brazil wins were in World Cup group play in 2006 and 2014. After the play I saw on Monday, I’d expect another win from Brazil. I doubt there will be a Croatian surprise this time around.


This is the pair from the very first day of Round of 16 matches and both won in strong fashion. Netherlands went on a scoring spree against the USA, proving they are ready for this tournament..Argentina were the ones in control against Australia. The Albiceleste were the ones in control of the game while the best Australia could do was stick to defending.

They’ve met nine times before; Netherlands winning four times and Argentina winning once. As for World Cup results, Netherlands won the first duel in 1974. As for the second duel, Argentina’s one win was in the 1978 World Cup final! Netherlands did get some World Cup revenge winning their 1998 quarterfinal.

For this match, I pick Argentina in added extra time. Both teams have shown their strengths and weaknesses in their group play. I think it will be Argentina that most has what it takes to deliver the win.


Both teams were decided on the last day of Round Of 16 matches. Morocco has normally lost to Spain, but they defended like never before to a 0-0 draw. When penalty kicks happened, Morocco was 3 for 4 while Spain couldn’t sink a single one! That makes Morocco only the fourth African nation to qualify for a World Cup quarterfinal! For Portugal, they knew they had to play well against Switzerland to win. They’ve won some but lost some to the Swiss. In the last Round of 16 match, they were a scoring force, winning 6-1.

Interesting that Morocco’s Round Of 16 rival Sapin was also their rival in 2018 group play.Here in the quarterfinal, Morocco will again meet up with another group play rival from 2018! They’ve met twice before. Morocco won the first time. Portugal won the second time. Yep, the World Cup game was won by Portugal.

On Saturday, I anticipate Portugal to win in regulation time. I am expecting Morocco to challenge and defend well, but for Portugal to win in the end.


Here’s another case of two teams with brilliant wins in the Round Of 16. France opened up with a strong 3-1 win over Poland. The second-half scoring of Kylian Mbappe has him as the World Cup scoring leader with five goals! England continued to perform well as they won their first-ever match against Senegal 3-0.

They’ve crossed paths 31 times before. England has won seventeen times. France nine. In the two times they’ve faced off at the World Cup, England won both times: 2-0 in 1966 and 3-1 in 1982. Their last meeting was a friendly which France won 3-2. As for this match, I think this will go to a draw that will be decided on penalty kicks. Of course, France will win.

And there you have it. Those are my predictions for the Round Of 16 and Quarterfinal matches. Now time to see how they pan out. Also don’t expect to see another blog from me until the semifinals.


2019 FIFA WWC: REVISED Predictions For The Quarterfinals


Did I say that I won’t be doing any predicting until the semifinals? I changed my mind. Normally I would let my predictions I made back on Friday stay as is, but the Round of 16 matched made me rethink a lot of things. Not simply because I got two quarterfinalists wrong — I’ve been wrong in Round of 16 predictions before and shunned them aside — but because of the play of teams in the Round of 16. Here they’re showing more of their strengths and weaknesses and it’s better to tell who will win.

So I will try to make a new set of predictions for the quarterfinals. Interesting how all six teams that topped their group won their Round-Of-16 match. Also interesting how seven of the eight quarterfinalists are European teams. The USA is the only non-European team that won their Round of 16 match. What did it? Jetlag to all those other teams? The same curse on the men’s World Cup that has prevented any non-European team from qualifying for a World Cup semifinal on European soil since 1998? Bad reffing? Or is it because the European teams are simply the most there? You be the judge. Anyways that’s the way it is and here’s how I predict for the quarterfinals:

NorwayNorway vs. England fixedEngland: Already for Norway, this is their best WWC result for them since 2007. They won their match against Australia, but on penalty kicks. They will be hard-pressed against England. Don’t forget it was England who ended Norway’s Women’s World Cup run in 2015 with a 1-2 in the Round Of 16. Don’t forget England looked good in their 3-0 win over Cameroon. I will have to go with England here.

France fixedFrance vs. USAU.S.A.: The U.S.A. looks like they struggled in their game against Spain. They won 2-1, but it was on penalty kicks from Megan Rapinoe. They appeared invincible in their 13-0 win over Thailand, but don’t forget football is opponent vs. opponent and results can differ greatly. France may have won 2-1 over Brazil, but it was in added extra time. So they showed some vulnerability here.

France may have won over the U.S. 3-1 in a friendly back in January, but this is a different day and a different meet. I think the U.S.A. will win, but in added extra time.

Italy ficedItaly vs. Netherlands FixedNetherlands: Italy, in its first Women’s World Cup in 20 years, but won their first-ever knockout round game against China 2-0. This is also the Netherlands’ first time ever winning a knock-out match at the WWC, and it was up against Japan: last year’s finalist. Both teams also looked great in their group play. Netherlands won all their games while Italy only lost to Brazil.

This is a tight call between the ‘Cinderella team’ of the tournament and the 2017 Women’s Euro winner. Don’t forget both teams will already have their best-ever result at the Women’s World Cup. I will have to say Italy as they’ve won over the Netherlands in head-to-head competition more often.

Germany fixedGermany vs. Sweden FixedSweden: Isn’t that something that this quarterfinal looks like a rematch of the 2016 Olympic final? Germany is one of five teams entering the quarterfinals with straight wins. Sweden’s only loss came to the U.S.A. in group play. Germany was very convincing in their 3-0 win against Nigeria. Sweden may have won against Canada 1-0 but they proved the can be a strong team.

I predict it will be Germany that wins as they have appeared the strongest. Also because they haven’t conceded a single goal in the tournament. And also Germany has won against Sweden more than they’ve lost in head-to-head competition.

And there you have it. My new predictions for the quarterfinals. Funny how watching play gives you second-thoughts. Right now I’m tempted to predict that the WWC final will be the U.S.A. vs. Germany. But it’s wrong to jump the gun. So let the play decide!

2019 FIFA WWC: Predictions For The Round-of-16 And Quarterfinals

ettieThe Group Stage has been contested. Those 36 games delivered a lot in terms of excitement and thrills. There were even surprises. Who would have thought it would be Italy that would top Group C? Also we knew the USA would beat Thailand, but who expected a score of 13-0? Also it’s interesting to note that none of the debut teams qualified for the Round Of 16, but they deserve respect. Chile was the one debut team that achieved a win and Scotland was the debut team that scored the most goals. Even Jamaica and South Africa gave themselves their first-ever WWC goal.

Whatever the situation, the 24 at the beginning had to be reduced to 16 and now that it’s decided, it’s off to the knockout rounds.


Makes better sense that it be called the Round of 16 than the ‘Eighth-Finals.’ With this being a contest of 24 teams, the Round of 16 is a case where the Top 2 teams from each group plus the four best third-place teams qualify for this round. By the time all the second-games were played, it became evident that four game points, the equivalent of a win and a draw, guaranteed qualification. However there would still be at least two teams with a win and two losses that were lucky enough to qualify. Anyways all the qualifiers have been decided as well as who plays who. Interesting how eight European teams and eight non-European teams qualified. Also interesting how each Round of 16 game is a case of a European team against a team outside Europe. Interesting.

Here are my predictions with my winner prediction bolded:

Norway (Group A 2nd) vs. Australia (Group C 2nd): This is hard to tell. Norway have been playing well despite France showing their weaknesses. Australia have performed well but they too faced exposure of their vulnerability thanks to Italy. I give it to Australia not just on play here, but also because Australia beat Norway in a game last year.

England (Group D Winner) vs. Cameroon (Group B/E/F 3rd): England made it through Group D with straight wins. Cameroon made it through by winning their last Group E match against New Zealand. They’re lucky they were able to score again after that own-goal. I’d say this game is England’s to take.

France (Group A Winner) vs. Brazil (Group C/D/E 3rd): France hopes as host nation they’d win all three of their Group Stage games and they did. Brazil won two games and lost to Australia. Because of goal differentials, they finished third in their group. For the winner here, I’ll pick France because Brazil has never won against France.

Spain (Group B 2nd) vs. U.S.A. (Group F Winner): One of the big surprises of this WWC was Spain. They won against South Africa, drew against China and only lost 1-0 to Germany. The US winning Group F was no surprise, but their 13-0 win over Thailand was! For this match, I expect the U.S.A. to win. We might even see another big score!

Italy (Group C Winner) vs. China (Group A/B/F 3rd): China qualifying was not a surprise. Italy topping Group C was a surprise. Especially since they surpassed more lauded teams like Australia and Brazil. It’s hard to predict who will win since China last played Italy back in 2008. I’d have to say Italy because they’ve been better at scoring at this Women’s World Cup.

Netherlands (Group E Winner) vs. Japan (2nd. Group D): This is a tough call. We have the finalist at the last WWC playing against the winner of the 2017 Women’s Euro. I will have to go with The Netherlands because they have been better at winning and scoring at this Women’s World Cup.

Germany (Group B Winner) vs. Nigeria (Group A/C/D 3rd): The reigning Olympic champions Germany have won all their group play games. Nigeria only had a single win, but hung on to qualify. I’m going with Germany because of their consistency.

Sweden (Group F 2nd.) vs. Canada (Group E 2nd.): This is interesting as both teams finished second in their group and both did it with two wins and a loss. Both are Olympic medalists from Rio: Sweden the silver medalist and Canada the bronze medalist. I’ll go with Canada, but to win on penalty kicks.


Provided my predictions for the Round of 16 winners hold true, here are my predictions for the quarterfinals:

Australia vs. England: Australia has only won once in their five meetings with England. I will have to go with England here.

France vs. U.S.A.: The USA appears invincible but keep in mind France beat them 3-1 in a friendly back in January. I’m going with France, but in added extra time.

Italy vs. The Netherlands: Italy may have been a surprise but I think this is where things are going to run out and thing will go in the advantage of the Netherlands.

Germany vs. Canada: This is going to be a tight game as it’s against two of the biggest in the world. I will have to say Germany.

And there you have it. Those are my predictions for the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals. You won’t be hearing from me again until just before the semifinals. So stay toond!


World Cup 2018 Predictions For The Knockout Rounds

Russia 2018

I have to say it was a very good Group Stage. There was a lot of excitement and a lot of drama. There was a lot of great scoring and a lot of excitement on who’s going to win the Golden Boot. Right now, England’s Harry Kane leads with 5. There was a lot of good play. Only a single game that ended in a 0-0 draw. Also only three red cards: one instant. So it’s good to see the players behaving themselves and sticking to playing well. Argentina almost became the shocker as it almost didn’t qualify, but they made it in their last game. Instead, defending champs Germany were the biggest shocker. The non-qualifications of Poland and Nigeria were also shockers too. And to think of the methods FIFA uses to break ties and send one team with the exact same game stats as the other home while the other qualified. That’s what happened Thursday when Group H ended with Japan and Senegal in a tie with a win, a draw, a loss and even goal differentials. Japan got the edge, and the Round of 16 berth because of less yellow cards amassed. Talk about tight!

Anyways after all that, the field of 32 took 48 games to reduce the field to 16 remaining in contention. From this point on, every game leading to the World Cup will be a knockout round meaning a winner has to be decided. If no winner after regulation, that will mean added extra time of two 15-minute rounds. If no winner after that, then it will start with a 5-set of penalty kicks. If still no winner, then a single-round to get a hit and a miss to decide. That’s how it’s done.


This is the first of it. The round to reduce the field of the 16 who qualified after Thursday to the eight to play in the quarterfinals. Interesting hoe many surprises there were in the tournament. Anyways onto my review of the Round of 16 matches:


This is a case of two teams going through one of their best eras on a long time. Uruguay has had their best era in decades and Portugal has had their best era… ever! Both even generated a superstar of their own with Uruguay shelling out Luis ‘Chewy Louie’ Suarez and Portugal shelling out Cristiano ‘CR7’ Ronaldo.

As for teams, Uruguay is one of three teams at this World Cup that won all three of their World Cup matches. Portugal may have had a win and two draws, but they did prove that they can deliver when it matters most. You put the pressure on Portugal, they will deliver. It’s hard to tell who will win since the last time the two countries faced off against each other was all the way back in 1972. I will have to predict Portugal, but on penalty kicks. I think they have what it takes to go the distance against Uruguay. They are a team of surprises.


France has been showing for years what a strong team unit they are. In fact they almost won the Euro in their backyard in 2016. France has been exhibiting the same team unity and same strength throughout the tournament. Argentina has been struggling. First was their draw against Iceland, then a 3-0 loss to Croatia, but then rallying back with a win against Nigeria.

The only way I can see Argentina winning against France is if the strength they had against Nigeria is carried over. In the meantime, I hate to piss off Messi fans but I think France will win.


For Russia, their qualification to the Round of 16 is a triumph on home soil. This is the first time ever as the Russian Federation that they qualified. This is also the first time to the knockout round since the Soviet team last did it in 1986. Spain’s qualification is also a triumph. You know this year it’s all about Germany failing to qualify? Well if you remember Spain was the defending Cup champions in 2014 and they were the ones that fell apart in the Group Stage that time. So their return is a big relief.

As far as team performance, it looks like Spain is the most skilled and the most organized. They’ve been known to play brilliantly even in the games they draw in. So I will have to pick Spain to win this.


Great to see Croatia deliver awesome play in their three wins. Also great to see their fans behave themselves in the stands this time. Denmark’s play has not been the most spectacular, but it has been consistent enough for them to nab their first Round of 16 berth in 16 years.

For the win, I will have to pick Croatia. I cannot see Denmark outperforming them here.


Two teams hungry for victory. Mexico want to win its first knockout round game since they hosted in 1986 and Brazil wants to return to the top after their Massacre At The Mineirao in 2014. Mexico performed brilliantly during their first two games just before falling to Sweden 3-0. Brazil started off weak with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland but came back to win both their other matches.

Both teams have met many times before with Brazil winning most of the games. Though Mexico has beat them at times. Brazil’s last loss to Mexico was in 2012. I will predict Brazil to win, but only in added extra time.


Lots of talk of no African teams in the Round of 16, but what’s also noteworthy is that Asian teams did very well here in Russia. While all AFC qualifiers failed to win a match in Brazil 2014, AFC teams in Russia won a total of four matches and Japan qualified for the Round of 16. As for Belgium, they showed brilliance in world Cup qualification play and they took their brilliance here in Russia as they’ve won all their games here.

Because of that, I predict Belgium to win.


Sweden keeps on surpassing any expectations you place on them. They outpoint the Netherlands in World Cup qualifying to get a playoff round, they outperform Italy in the playoff round to qualify for the World Cup, and they top Group F en route to qualifying! Who needs Zlatan anyways? Switzerland will also show their power when you least expect it as they drew 1-1 against Brazil here in Russia and beat Serbia.

Sweden and Switzerland have even past results against each other and their last meeting together was all the way back in 2002. I’m anticipating this to draw into penalty kicks, upon which Switzerland will win.


This makes it the first time Colombia has made it to the knockout round in two consecutive World Cups. They started on a weak note losing 2-1 to Japan, but have won both games since. England can take pride that this World Cup puts to rest the humiliation of 2014 where they not only failed to make it past the Group Stage, but failed to win a single game. This time they won their first two matches and even has Harry Kane in the hunt for the Golden Boot Award.

England has never lost to Colombia in the five previous times they met. So I will go with England, but in added extra time.


Let’s just assume that my predictions for the Round Of 16 wins turn out right. Here are my picks:

France vs. Portugal

Portugal may have beaten France at Euro 2016, but France has beaten Portugal more often. I will have to go with France here.

Spain vs. Croatia

Spain has won against Croatia more often, but Croatia has the edge as they beat Spain at the 2016 European Championships. I will say Croatia here.

Brazil vs. Belgium

The two have met only four times before, but Brazil’s last loss to Belgium was in 1963. I will predict Brazil to win this game.

Switzerland vs. England

If my prediction does hold true, then this will be Switzerland’s first trip to the Top 8 since they hosted in 1954. The last time Switzerland beat England was back in 1981. So I have to pick England here.

And there you have my predictions for the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals. I will save my predictions for the semis and the finals until they are decided. Which means you will all have to wait until next Sunday, at the earliest, to read them!





2016 UEFA Euro: Predictions For Knockout Rounds

Euro Logos

That’s the Group Stage for you. All four teams in each group play each other and have to prove in those 270 minutes and then some if they deserve to move on. Sixteen teams proved themselves worthy and it’s up to a single match in the Round of 16 to narrow the field of 16 down to 8 and the quarterfinals to reduce the field of 8 down to 4. So here are my predictions for the next two rounds:


First off the Round of 16. This is the first Euro ever to have such a round. That’s what happens when you increase the number of teams from 16 to 24. Similar confusing format as the Women’s World Cup last year, if not the same. And here are my predictions with my picks for the winner in bold.

Switzerland (Group A 2nd) vs. Poland (Group C 2nd): This makes it the first Euro for either team to qualify for the knockout round. This is also the first Euro Poland won their first game. Also who would’ve expected that draw to Germany? I believe further success will come Poland’s way as they have been excellent. Also Switzerland has never won against Poland. They may have drawn in a friendly almost a year and a half ago but Poland has always beat Switzerland.

Wales (Group B Winner) vs. Northern Ireland (Wildcard: Group C): You could attribute Wales coming out on top because of Gareth Bale but it is a whole team effort. Also Northern Ireland knew how to deliver in their surprise win over Ukraine 2-0 which was enough to give them the berth here. The two have played each other eight times before with Wales winning three times, NI once and four draws. Their most recent match was a friendly back in March where they drew 1-1. I feel this will lead to a draw that will go to penalty kicks where Wales will win.

Croatia (Winner Group D) vs. Portugal (Wildcard: Group F): Normally I would predict Portugal to win this, especially since Portugal beat Croatia the three previous times they’ve met. However you just have to watch the play of these two teams here to get a good sense who will win. Croatia has been playing brilliantly despite their games plagued by obnoxious flare-throwing fans. However Portugal has struggled in their lineup and they have not appeared all that together. In fact you’d expect a team like Portugal to qualify with more than just three straight draws. I will give it to Croatia to win. They definitely look like a team that’s on. Note: If Croatia wins, this will be the first Euro where Croatia wins a knockout game.

France (Winner Group A) vs. Republic of Ireland (Wildcard: Group E): As host nation, France had to do well. However they already had a talented enough squad to take them through the first round. Actually many people are thinking France has what it takes to win. Ireland have to have the ‘luck of the Irish’ that they were able to qualify after their win against Italy. They had a tie and a loss and appeared in danger of heading out. It’s either the luck of winning or Italy just wanting to take it easy knowing they finished first in their group. It almost seems like a forgone conclusion for France to win. Besides their last loss to Ireland was all the way back in the 80’s. It’s fair to pick France.

Germany (Winner Group C) vs. Slovakia (Wildcard: Group B): Germany won their group as expected. This was Slovakia’s first Euro so a chance for themselves to prove themselves in front of the whole continent. They did very well in tying England and beating Russia. You think they should be invincible against Slovakia, right? Not so fast! Germany may have beat Slovakia in three of the five times they met but their last meeting was a month ago in a friendly and it was SLOVAKIA that won 3-1. So I predict the game will go to a draw even in extra time. However I predict Germany to win on penalty kicks. I have a hunch that’s what it will come down to. The only sure thing about Germany is a blemish-free penalty kick result.

Hungary (Winner Group F) vs. Belgium (Group E 2nd): A case of two teams. One is a team playing better than their country ever has. Another you could rightfully call the ‘comeback kids.’ However it’s better to say Hungary proved you can’t call them a ‘blast from the past’ anymore. Hungary has a team that’s ready to return their country to glory. However Hungary’s comeback is not immediate. It’s slow but sure. However I think the Round of 16 is the furthest they’ll be getting right now. Besides Belgium has never lost to Hungary in the times they’ve played each other. I predict Belgium to win.

Italy (Winner Group E) vs. Spain (Group D 2nd): How about that? Two teams that have a stellar reputation in football. Two teams that had an embarrassing Group Stage ouster during the 2014 World Cup. Two teams that played very well in the Euro 2016 group stage. And only one will still be in the running and one other will be out in the Round of 16. There may be concern since both teams lost their last game. However Italy decided to send in some lesser-skilled players for their match against Ireland since they knew they’d finish first in Group E anyways. Spain on the other hand started brilliantly and ended up giving their 1st place ranking away to Croatia. The two have known to have a colorful rivalry with Italy last defeating Spin in 2011. However I think Italy will win in added extra time.

England (Group B 2nd) vs. Iceland (Group F 2nd): England qualifying is not a surprise. Here in Euro 2016, they’re back in a familiar position. Iceland however has been the big surprise of the tournament with 1-1 draws against Hungary and Portugal and a last-second goal giving them a 2-1 win over Austria. The funniest thing is that whenever you see 25,000 Icelandics waving their flag in the stadiums, you’re reminded at least 5% of Iceland’s population is there. Yes, pound-for-pound Iceland has proven themselves in recent years to be the top football team in the world, especially during Euro 2016. However I think Icelandic luck will end here. England has only played Iceland once before and won but that was back in 2004. I’m sure England will win again here although definitely by a smaller margin.


It is tradition that I make quarterfinal predictions. For each quarterfinal, I assume each prediction I make for the Round of 16 is true, though you know it’s not always the case. Whatever the situation, here goes:

Croatia vs. Poland: Croatia is the best it’s ever been at a Euro as is Poland. Poland is actually the best it’s been in decades. However both Croatia and Poland have met five times in the past with Croatia winning three times and Poland once. I predict Croatia to win again but in added extra time.

Wales vs. Belgium: Wales and Belgium have met ten times before with Wales winning three times and Belgium four. I predict this will go to a draw in added extra time and Belgium will win on penalty kicks.

Germany vs. Italy: Traditionally Italy has been known as Germany’s ‘Achilles Heel.’ Germany has lost to Italy on many big occasions like the semifinals of both the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012. However Germany turned the tables in a friendly three months ago and won 4-1. I predict Germany to win again here.

England vs. France: A familiar rivalry. England has won in 17 of the 30 previous meetings. However the tabled turned for France starting in 1999 and the odds would be in their favor with wins or draws. However England got back their advantage back in a friendly in November and won 2-0. I think however France will have the advantage with the home crowd.

And there are my predictions for the first two knockout rounds. That’s how I see things but I know there will be at least one surprise or two. Pele has always said “Football is a box of surprises.” Expect to see some here in the next few rounds. And I’ll see you all again in the semis.


2015 FIFA WWC: Predictions For The Round of 16 And Quarterfinals

Womens CupThe Group Stage has been contested over the past two weeks. Some results did go as widely predicted and some were surprises. Who thought Cameroon would come second in their group? Who thought Colombia would beat France? And who thought Group D would be that close? A group with three teams in FIFA’s Top 10 would be a tough group. Whatever the situation, the 24 at the beginning had to be reduced to 16 and now that it’s decided, it’s off to the knockout rounds.

Round of 16

First off the Round of 16. It’s not like the men’s World Cup where it’s just the Top2 from the group that qualify. This WWC is now going to the format of the men’s World Cups from 1986 to 1994 where it’s the Top 2 plus the four best third-place teams. Ah, nothing makes any real sense. Whatever the situation, here are my predictions with my winner prediction bolded:

China (Group A 2nd) vs. Cameroon (Group B 2nd): This is a hard one to predict since neither team have played each other in the past. China is performing well especially for such a young team–for the record no Chinese player is older than 26– but Cameroon have been pulling some surprises. They won 6-0 against Ecuador, beat Switzerland and was the only team to score a single goal against Japan. I will have to predict Cameroon to win this match because of the excitement they’ve been delivering in their performances.

USA (Group D Winner) vs. Colombia (Group B/E/F 3rd): Colombia has been one of the surprises of the Cup so far but I believe this is where their magic will come to an end. The US are tops on talent and experience. Colombia have accomplished a lot here but they’re still growing as a team while the US is among the top in the world. So that’s why I predict the US for an easy win.

Germany (Group B Winner) vs. Sweden (Group A/D 3rd): If there’s one Round of 16 match that can deliver a surprise, it’s this match. Both teams are raked in FIFA’s Top 5 and both are capable of surprising the top countries. As for past stats, they’ve played each other three times before with Sweden winning twice and Germany once. However Germany has been playing brilliantly and powerfully and Sweden has drawn in all three of their games. That’s why Germany is my pick for this match but in extra time.

France (Group F Winner) vs. South Korea (Group E 2nd): There’s not too much to build upon in terms of past results. They’ve only met once before with France winning 1-0. However I would have to make my judgment upon the teams’ game play here. France was excellent but did expose their weaknesses with their 2-0 loss to Colombia. South Korea is a team still learning and playing. With that in mind I will have to pick France.

Brazil (Group E Winner) vs. Australia (Group D 2nd): How about that? Brazil was the first team to clinch #1 in their group after only two games. Shows that Marta and the girls are on target. Australia are also phenomenal as they’ve been playing with consistency by winning against Nigeria and drawing against Sweden. May make FIFA want to rethink their current #10 status. However even though Australia want this to be the World Cup where they finally win a knockout game, I don’t think the Matildas will win here. Brazil has played them eleven times and won seven. I have to go with Brazil on this one.

Japan (Group C Winner) vs. Netherlands (Group A/F 3rd): Another pair that will meet together for the first time at this World Cup. This is actually easier to predict. Japan has been dominating while the Netherlands are learning and getting better over time. However I don’t think they will have enough to defeat the defending Cup champions. I believe Japan will take it.

Norway (Group B 2nd) vs. England (Group F 2nd): One thing about the Three Lionesses is that some people on Twitter are saying they can teach the men a thing or two. England has been brilliant this tournament but Norway has proven themselves great performers too. Their ‘blast from the past’ thing seems to be just a myth and are able to prove themselves again. Predicting this game won’t be easy especially since they’ve only played each other once before and Norway won 2-0. For this, I will have to go with England in extra time. Norway has shown improvements over time but I don’t think it will be enough here.

Canada (group A Winner) vs. Switzerland (Group C 3rd): I will have to be frank and honest here. I’m happy of Canada’s progress but judging by their play over the past few days, I don’t think they’re playing like they deserve to win the Cup. They will really have to step up their game if they want to win the World Cup or even progress further. Basing a prediction on head-to-head play only adds to the confusion. Wikipedia says they’ve played each other four times with Canada winning three while FIFA says they’ve never played head-to-head ever. As for Switzerland, they’re getting better. This is their first World Cup and they’re improving. However I don’t think they’re at the same level of play as Canada. That’s why I predict Canada to win this match. And Canada better win! Because that’s the Round of 16 game I’m seeing!


Updated: June 24, 2015

I was going to leave my original predictions for the quarterfinals but seeing the number of hits this post has been getting has caused me to change a couple of matches. So here are my predictions for the quarterfinals:

Germany vs. France: If you think Germany’s Round of 16 match against Sweden will be a nailbiter, the nailbiting won’t be over yet as I believe they will face France in the quarterfinals. However Germany has been next to dominant while France has shown in their loss to Colombia their reputation of choking at big meets. That’s why I’m leaning towards Germany.

China vs. USA: China is a former great country in women’s football seeing to make a comeback. It appears their ‘young team’ has paid off because they have made it to the quarterfinals. However this is where I feel their comeback will stop. The US is more experienced, more familiar with being a dominator, and they know how to deliver. That’s why the US is my unanimous pick for the win here.

Australia vs. Japan: Australia are the surprise of the tournament. Everyone thought Brazil would be the team in the Round of 16 but Simon seized the moment. However this is where the Matilda’s magic will end. I’m going to have to side with Japan on this one not just of how they’re doing now but of the last four years of head-to-head play. Australia and Japan have met many times but only won one game and that was back in 2010.

Canada vs. England: Okay, both team played well but both showed weaknesses. England may have lost to France but they won against Mexico and Colombia. Canada won against China but drew their two other games. I feel this will be a tight match that will draw down to penalty kicks which will be won by, believe it or not, England. Hey, the English men may have a reputation of being complete rubbish at penalty kicks but the lasses may tell another story.

And there you go. Those are my WWC predictions so far. I have no plans to make any more WWC predictions until the semi-finals. Stay tuned until then!

World Cup 2014: Predictions For The Knockout Rounds

Netherlands v Spain: 2010 FIFA World Cup FinalThe Group Stage was held these past two weeks for the same reason time and time again at each World Cup: to separate the contenders from the pretenders. There were some surprises both in terms of who qualified and who were ousted. The big name countries that were ousted were some of the biggest news. Nevertheless those that qualified got their moment in the sun.

Now begins the knockout rounds to determine the two teams in contention for the Cup. However the first round of the playoff stage will be the Round of 16. The Group Stage not only decided the two advancers from each of the eight groups but also determined who plays who in the knockout stage. Heck they’ll even go to the ever-dreaded penalty kicks to get a winner. One thing about this phase is that it’s organized so that neither of the two qualifiers from the Group Stage meet again until they are both lucky enough to both reach the final.

So without further ado, here are my predictions for the first set of the knockout phases. I will consider both their play exhibited in the Group Stage and their head-to-head play in past matches:


-Brazil (Group A 1st) vs. Chile (Group B 2nd): Brazil and Chile sure have a habit of meeting each other at the World Cup. First time was in 1962 in the semifinals when Chile was host nation. Brazil won 4-2. Next time was in 1998 in the Round of 16: Brazil won again 4-1. The next time was in 2010 again in the Round of 16: Brazil won again 3-0. Look who play in the first Round of 16 match?

In terms of looking at the teams, Brazil has been excellent but has a habit of slowing down when they shouldn’t. Just ask Mexico. Chile has been very good and proved they can rise to the occasion against even the heavy favorites like Spain. Netherlands however gave them a reminder how they still have a ways to go.

My prediction for this round will be Brazil to win. No way is Brazil going to lose in front of their home country. Not with the memories of the Maracanazo in mind. Yes, I’ll post that flashback soon.

NOTE: One thing I’ve noticed is that every first-game of the Round of 16 begins on a good and often thrilling note. I still remember USA 1994 and seeing the first Round of 16 match: Germany vs. Belgium. Three goals scored in the first fifteen minutes. Also a bit of trivia. The first Round of 16 game has never gone to penalty kicks. Let’s hope it stays this way this year.

-Colombia (Group C 1st) vs. Uruguay (Group D 2nd): Funny thing about the first day of the Round of 16 is that it might make you think you’re watching the Copa America instead. Actually one thing about the South American countries is that they’re very thorough in their play against each other. While some continents contest a few countries against each other for a World Cup berth or even half the countries, all South American countries play each other twice to determine the qualifiers. Each of the countries know each other very well from the play. They know their strengths and their weaknesses. It’s possible that even the best South American team can be defeated by a South American team that doesn’t have the legacy or the higher FIFA ranking. Sometimes it makes you wonder if it’s harder to win a continental championship than the World Cup. Not just for South America but for all continents.

Both Colombia and Uruguay have played each other a lot over they years. They’ve both won some and they’ve lost some. Uruguay has won more but Colombia has won more in recent years. My pick for the winner will be Colombia. However don’t be surprised if the match goes to penalty kicks to decide the winner.

-Netherlands (Group B 1st) vs. Mexico (Group A 2nd): Most people at the beginning were writing the Netherlands off, especially from their three losses in the Euro 2012 Group Stage. They didn’t show much sign of improvement. That is, until they stepped on the field against Spain. There they reduced the defending Cupholders to size and continued with impressive wins against Australia and Chile. Orange magic was back. Mexico themselves had low expectations. However it took consistent play from them, and even proving to be a tough match for Brazil, to send the message they haven’t lost it.

My pick for the win is the Netherlands. They have been a scoring machine since the start of the Cup and they don’t show signs of slowing down.

-Costa Rica (Group D 1st) vs. Greece (Group C 2nd): Of all the pair-ups in this Round of 16, this is the only pair that has never played against each other even once before. Costa Rica has been the ‘Cinderella team’ of this World Cup so far with their wins against heavy favorites Uruguay and Italy. Greece has also had a ‘Cinderella’ moment here at the World Cup. With a loss and a tie, they appeared close to elimination before playing the Ivory Coast. However Greece had a surprise. And repeating their surprise from Euro 2012 when a win against Russia in their last Group Stage game, and also with a loss and a tie, helped them advance.

I’ll have to go with Costa Rica because they’ve been better at winning here at the World Cup. But don’t rule out Greece causing a surprise.

-France (Group E 1st) vs. Nigeria (Group F 2nd): France has impressed the football world with their comeback here at the World Cup. The 5-2 win over Switzerland sure showed Les Bleus are back. Nigeria is also another comeback team. They tied Iran, won against Bosnia and gave Argentina a good fight in their 3-2 loss against them. Nigeria advanced for the first time in 16 years and for the third time in their history, making them the first African nation to advance past the Group Stage three times.

I’m normally one to rely on head-to-head stats. If I did, I’d pick Nigeria as they won their one head-to-head match. However I give it to France for their brilliant play they’ve been showing.

-Germany (Group G 1st) vs. Algeria (Group H 2nd): Germany just keep on showing their consistency. The sixteenth straight World Cup where they advance past the Group Stage and the seventh straight World Cup where they finish the Group Stage #1 in their group. Algeria however are having their best ever World Cup. Their first World Cup where they advance past the Group Stage. It was a brilliant 4-2 win against South Korea that solidified their chances.

Now the hard part. Predicting the winner. Normally I’d pick Germany because of their consistency and the fact they’ve made the Top 8 every year since 1954. However I’m reminded at the FIFA site that Germany has played Algeria twice before and lost both times. I’ll say Germany but don’t be surprised if this takes penalty kicks to decide.

-Argentina (Group F 1st) vs. Switzerland (Group F 2nd): Argentina continue showing their consistency even though their wins have been lax. One thing is that Lionel Messi has come back and has scored four goals. Switzerland has been mostly consistent in their play and they didn’t let their 5-2 defeat from France bring them down.

I pick Argentina and not just because of their play. FIFA stats show that Argentina and Switzerland have met six times before. Argentina has won four timed and they drew twice. I don’t think this will be the place Switzerland will get their first win against Messi and the boys.

-Belgium (Group H 1st) vs. U.S.A. (Group G 2nd): Belgium is back. They’ve been questions whether they deserved their ‘seeded’ status during the draw but they’ve won all three of their games, even though with small results like 2-1, 1-0 and 1-0. USA keep writing new chapters for themselves. They deliver an impressive record in the Group Stage to qualify for the Round of 16 for the second time in a row. To think the USA used to be a joke in the football world. Not anymore.

I pick Belgium. yes, the USA has shown they can put up a great fight with even the best of them. However I will rely on the head-to-head stats where the USA has beaten Belgium one time in the five times they’ve met. The last game they played was a friendly less than a year ago which Belgium won 4-2.


For this part, I will assume the quarterfinal match-ups go with my Round of 16 winner predictions.

-France vs. Germany

-Brazil may not like this because they’ve had bad luck against France in the previous three World Cup meetings. I predict France because they’ve had better head-to-head play against Germany.

-Brazil vs. Colombia

I predict Brazil. At first many thought they’d crumble under pressure but they have poured it on against Croatia and Cameroon.

-Argentina vs. Belgium

Argentina’s won three of the four times they’ve played Belgium. It’s likely to stay that way here.

-Netherlands vs. Costa Rica

Oranje and the Ticos have never faced each other before. However Netherlands is skilled enough a team to bring Costa Rica’s ‘Cinderella story’ to an end.

Okay, I’ll save my actual predictions for the semifinals and finals once we learn of the true winners of the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals. My coarse predictions for the semis, should my predictions actually all turn out right, is Argentina beating Netherlands and Brazil finally beating France. Netherlands will win the 3rd-place match and Brazil will win the Cup. In the meantime, those Round of 16 and quarterfinals predictions are my actual predictions for now.