Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Cup 2010: Round of 16 Previews- June 28

Holland vs. Slovakia
The second of three all-European second round matches pits Group E winners Holland against Group F runners-up Slovakia. Holland were one of only two 3-0 teams in the group stages, besting Denmark, Japan and Cameroon. The Slovaks had only one point after two matches following a draw with New Zealand and a loss to Paraguay. But they upset Italy in their final match to take second.

The Dutch may not always get along, but when Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie are scoring goals, everyone's happy. The return of Arjen Robben gives Bert van Marwijk's troops added fire power. Slovakia's defense will be under constant pressure, and they'll look to Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel to neutralize club teammate Dirk Kuyt and the rest of the Netherlands offense.

Holland are the more potent side here and Slovakia's defense has been far from bullet proof. Those two factors add up to a Dutch victory.

Prediction: Holland 2, Slovakia 0

Brazil vs. Chile
For the first time in this World Cup we will see a South American team eliminated as Brazil face continental rivals Chile. Brazil was efficient in their trip through Group G, defeating North Korea and Ivory Coast before locking up the top spot with a scoreless draw against Portugal. Chile jumped out to a 2-0 start by topping Honduras and Switzerland before a loss to Spain dropped them to second.

A rested Kaka is back for Brazil after he was absurdly sent off against the Ivory Coast. With Luis Fabiano and Elano each scoring twice in Group G play, Brazil have no shortage of attacking options.

Chile's punishment for their rugged play against Spain was yellow card suspensions for starting defenders Gary Medel and Wando Ponce. With an inexperienced backline in front of him, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will need to steal the match for Chile.

Chile actually won more matches than Brazil in South American qualifying, but none of those victories came in two meetings with the five-time champs. That trend continues in South Africa.

Prediction: Brazil 3, Chile 0

1 comment:

Anna Jenkins said...
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