Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Round of 16 Outlook

England couldn't figure out how to beat Sweden again. After super-sub Steven Gerrard grabbed a late lead with a header off a Joe Cole cross, Henrik Larsson somehow contrived to nick the ball off his toe and barely into the far corner in injury time for a 2-2 draw. Joe Cole, Man of the Match, after scoring a stunning goal in the first half.

Trinidad's dream also ended today, sadly, with a 2-0 loss to Paraguay. They will be missed.

Round of 16 Outlook
I thought we could look ahead a little bit to how the knockout stages are shaping up. I'm ruling out the possibility of anything I consider to be a major upset happening (partially in hopes that one of them will happen).

Should everything go to script, the knockout round will look something like this:
Germany v. Sweden
Argentina v. Mexico/Portugal
Italy/Czech/Ghana v. Australia/Croatia
Switzerland/France v. Ukraine/Tunisia
England v. Ecuador
Netherlands v. Mexico/Portugal
Brazil v. Czech/Ghana/Italy/USA
Spain v. Switzerland/France

Let's just say seeding/favorites hold in those games. You'd have quarterfinals looking like this:
Germany v. Argentina
Italy v. France
England v. Portugal/Netherlands
Brazil v. Spain

I won't hypothesize further, but those could be some dynamite matchups.

Best Goal of the First Round
Thought I'd start soliciting votes for the best goal of the first round. I'd probably go for Cambiasso's finish to Argentina's intricate passing move against Serbia. Joe Cole's goal today against Sweden merits a mention, as does Torres' goal for Spain against Ukraine.


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