Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Into the Knockout Stages

Today Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina, and South Korea went into the final 16 of the tournament and found out who they will play.

Uruguay will face South Korea. The South Americans have more talent, particularly on the front line, and let's face it, that continent has dominated events thus far. However, the Koreans are well organized at the defensive end, and like to play on the counter attack, where they display their own formidable talent, as well as pace. I like the South Korean team, and I wrote in my predictions that they could possibly make a run deep into the tournament, but Uruguay is a tall order. Uruguay are so sound defensively (they have yet to concede a goal), and Korea has shown a tendency to let their opponents score, so it is hard to see anything but a Uruguay victory. I will say 2-1.

Mexico and Argentina played each other at this stage of the 2006 World Cup in Germany as well. It was a very close, hard-fought match that went into extra time. The deciding goal was an amazing strike by Maxi Rodriguez, who took a ball down off his chest and volleyed in from about 25 yards out. It was a fabulous strike, and happened very late in the game, giving Mexico no chance to recover.

Both teams are more talented now than they were in 2006, so we should see another great match, with a rare brand of attacking football on display. I am afraid Argentina will be too much for Mexico, which is a shame, because I think that with a better match-up, Mexico could have made a deep run, maybe as far as the semi-finals. Unfortunately for El Tri, there will just be too much of Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez for them to handle. I predict a match for the ages, and a 3-2 Argentine victory, behind a Tevez hat-trick.

So, South America should continue to dominate, with at least two teams into the quarter-finals.


Joey said...

Uruguay has looked very good. Are they a sleeper to get to the Semifinals?

Dennis said...

I think so, they don't have a particularly difficult route to get there.