Yaaay, the knock-out stages!

Also known as… a 0-0 won’t get you anywhere now lads.

So I’m getting set to head to Johannesburg this morning after a week away from all the real action in Clarens, Kimberley and Bloemfontein. Hung out with some Honduras fans at their 0-0 game with the Swiss last night. Was a weird feeling as I was actually rooting for the other two teams in the group, Spain and Chile, who were playing in Pretoria. I’m just glad that the anti-football antics of the Swiss were not rewarded! I’ll write up something proper about the last week sometime soon as it’s been a weird one…

And so we now find ourselves into the last 16 two weeks and a day after Siphiwe Tshabalala’s incredible strike for South Africa against Mexico really kicked off this world cup. It’s been a real mixed bag of games, with some teams just doing their best to keep a clean sheet and see how they fare in the next game (Serbia, Switzerland) and then some other teams are throwing caution to the win and just going for it (Argentina, Spain, Mexico). The very fact that I’ve seen 3 scoreless games already says it all. Of course the real drama came with the exit of France and Italy, and the fact that other European “superpowers” like Germany, England and Spain all went into their final game having to win says it all. Meanwhile, South America’s teams all qualified and you get the impression when you look at their qualifying group, that Ecuador and Colombia would probably have qualified for the last 16 if they were here too. Also, I’m glad my prediction about all the Africa teams flopping has come true. Watching the African Cup of Nations last January really revealed that there just aren’t any complete teams playing in this continent right now.

So anyway, enough waffle, now that we have a very clear knock-out through the final on July 11th,I can embarrass myself and predict how all this is going to play out!

predictions, last 16 to the final

Yes, Brazil to win. I keep saying it but it HAS to be a South American team, it has swapped continents ever since 1958 and Europe had it last time. Plus with Spain really struggling to break down Switzerland and even Honduras I can’t see them winning, much and all as it pains me to say that! The USA coach Bob Bradley proved last summer in the confederations cup that they are not infallable. Of course they would meet Argentina in the semis, who wouldn’t really be capable of transforming their game to play a 7 man defensive system.

Whatever way it plays out, it’s bound to be exciting. Oh and on that little matter of Germany losing to England? I just have a hunch. It’s about time they actually beat a big team at a world cup, right?

Next up for me is the absolute cracker that is Argentina V Mexico on Sunday and then Brazil V Chile on Monday. I have high hopes, and I know the Americas will not let me down!

Now i just have to try track down some quarter-final tickets. The battle of Cape Town, Argentina/Mex V England/Germany would be nice…

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