Now that the USMNT is out and I no longer have a national rooting interest to worry about, I can now drop my predictions for the quarters. Though I would have preferred watching some Team USA over this holiday weekend, the matches will be very exciting.
Friday, July 4th
Germany vs. France (12pm ESPN2)
France will have to rely on its strong defense (2 WC Goals Allowed) and hope it can take advantage of Germany’s struggling backline to advance. The Germans boast the stronger side, but outside of their 4-0 beatdown of Portugal they have not shown it. I’m giving the Germans the edge to move on to the semifinals and a matchup with the Brazil/Colombia winner. The only wildcard is the reported flu going through the German team in the lead-up to this match. Germany 2-1
Colombia vs. Brazil (4pm ESPN)
Columbia has by far been the most fun team to watch in the 2014 World Cup and I don’t see them letting up. Due to the pressure they’ve felt to perform, I’ve rooted hard for the host team, but I don’t see them getting past Colombia. Columbia’s James Rodriquez is becoming a star on the national stage and I expect for him outshine Neymar. Brazil has the talent, but outside of Neymar they have not consistently shown up. Colombia will also be boasted by the hole left in Brazil’s middle from the loss of Luiz Gustavo. Colombia 2-0
Saturday, July 5th
Belgium vs. Argentina (12pm ABC)
Can the greatest player in the world carry Argentina to the semifinals? Not by hisself he can’t. Messi has done it all for Argentina, but without the rest of the team, this is as far as they will go. I think Sergio Aguero has a chance to step up vs. Belgium, and that would help Messi a lot. Belgium may continue to play tight until after the 70th minute and hope for late game heroics to get past, but attacking early could take advantage of Argentina’s suspect backline. Argentina 1-0
Costa Rica vs. Netherlands (4pm ESPN)
It will be the Dutch attack vs. the Costa Rican defense on Saturday afternoon, and I think we will be in for some great soccer. If van Persie and Robben are on, Costa Rica will have major problems slowing them down. I look for the Dutch to end the surpise run of the Costa Ricans and to move on to face Argentina is the semis. Netherlands 2-0
So there you go folks. Chill the beers, fire up the grill and get ready for some great soccer.