Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Cup 2010: Round of 16 Previews- June 27

England vs. Germany
Here we go again. A rivalry that needs no hype, the latest edition pits a veteran English side against Joachim Low's youthful German squad. England stumbled through Group C, posting a win and two draws but scoring only twice to finish second. Fans of the Three Lions hope their best game is still to come. Wayne Rooney will need to emerge as a scoring threat to make that a reality.

Germany throttled Australia 4-0 in their opener before a pair of 1-0 matches, a loss to Serbia and a win over Ghana, advanced them as winners of Group D. Mesut Ozil has emerged as the team's newest star, scoring the game-winner against Ghana. 2006 heroes Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose, back from a red card suspension, are again the focal points for Germany.

Predicting England to lose in a shootout would be downright cruel, so I'll take the Germans in regulation.

Prediction: Germany 2, England 1

Argentina vs. Mexico
Argentina and Mexico meet in the Round of 16 for the second-straight World Cup. Four years ago Maxi Rodriguez's sublime strike in extra time gave the Argentines a 2-1 win. Diego Maradona's swashbuckling squad was one of only two squads to go 3-0 in the group stages, posting wins over Nigeria, South Korea and Greece to win Group B. Lionel Messi has played the role of distributor thus far; he's yet to score, but has set up the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, who had a hat trick against South Korea.

Mexico tinkered with various line-ups in going 1-1-1 in Group A play. Their best effort was a 2-0 win over the French, the only time you'll see "best effort" and "French" in the same sentence. Giovani Dos Santos will be counted on to help El Tri match their opponents' firepower.

Prediction: Argentina 3, Mexico 1

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