World Cup: thoughts after the Round of 16
Brazil & Croatia
Brazil look good but I kind of think they haven’t faced a real challenge yet. They should beat Croatia but I’ll be really interested to see what happens if they meet Portugal in the semi-finals.
Croatia didn’t look very good in their last game but I think you have to give some credit to Japan for how they defended. They made it difficult for Croatia.
That said, with Brazil’s firing attack, it’ll be a hard time for Crotia in the quarter-finals.
Morocco & Portugal
Morocco beating Spain on paper seemed like an upset but I wasn’t that surprised. Spain’s game is tired and dated in my opinion. Too much side-to-side play, slow, and not clinical enough. Teams like Morocco can “park the bus” and sit back and wait for penalty kicks in knockout rounds. They don’t need a goal to win, they just need to survive and then they have a good chance in penalties. And that’s exactly what happened.
Portugal look very good. But sadly they look like a better team without Ronnie. It’s sad to see him losing his sharpness. I hope he can just come to terms with it because it’s rough to see him tortured by the fact his best days are behind him. He needs to just embrace the new role of a leader and not be so tortured by not being on the pitch scoring 2 goals a game. If Portugal beat Brazil in the semis, I think they’ll win the World Cup.
Portugal will cleanup against Morocco. Portugal have a lot of attacking power and they've been solid at the back as well.
Netherlands & Argentina
Netherlands have been a bit unimpressive and very wasteful on attack. Lukaku was back last game but they may have been better off without him. It almost seemed like he was trying not to score.
Argentina started slow but Messi has since been in the mood. They have experience on their side.
Argentina will beat Netherlands. That said I don’t think they win against whoever they would face in semi’s (either England or France).
England & France
I’m hopeful of England against France. France can be beaten if England don’t choke. England is a better team overall but France have potent attackers so England needs to make sure they don't make stupid mistakes and protect against the counter-attack. If England can handle the pressure of the international stage and actually shed the weight of their past losses, they’ll survive.
It’s mostly a mental game for England. And for that reason let’s just hope it doesn’t go to penalty kicks because England can’t seem to win those no matter what. But penalties are pretty common in these knockout rounds so that very well could just happen and France might just win those.
Was happy to see Germany stink it up.
Canada has some good individual players. But it also showed the gulf between them and the best of the best TEAMS. As soon as Canada wasn’t 100% focused, teams were cutting through them like a hot knife through butter. Canada has good individual talent, but overall football intelligence is very lacking. There’s a level of attention that’s completely different between them and the top teams.