By Garrett McGinley
Web Content Contributor
Believe it or not, the World Cup ends this weekend and the results thus far have been… interesting. My expert analysis up to this point has been a little shaky. In my defense though, my knowledge of the beautiful game is nominal at best and turning to me for guidance was frankly misguided.
So far, 24 of the 32 teams have been eliminated, the most notable of those being Germany. The defending champions were far from the “well-oiled machine” I initially labeled them as, in fact this team was pure dumpster juice. They were only able to muster two goals in three games, losing to Mexico and Sweden respectively. Their quick exit makes them the third straight defending champion- to fall in the first round.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Peru, Australia, Nigeria, Iceland, Serbia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Tunisia, Panama, Senegal and Poland also fell in the group stage. None of those were particularly surprising though some stung worse than others.
The round of 16 provided some serious drama. All but one of the games were within one goal and multiple were decided by penalty kicks. Portugal, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and Colombia were all eliminated in this round.
Some simple math tells me there are eight teams left in the tournament… or negative eight teams. I don’t know, I’m bad at math. Note: about half of these have eliminated by the time you, dear reader will have seen this. But, oh well.
Uruguay: This team has been very strong. So strong that they have not lost a game and only allowed one goal so far. Luis Suarez has been great and more importantly, he’s been a good boy by keeping his mouth to himself. However, the competition is about to become very tough, perhaps too tough for Uruguay to overcome.
Prediction: 2-1 loss to France in the quarterfinals.
France: Young, talented and fun. Those are three adjectives I feel encapsulate this French team’s je ne sais quoi. They have been very strong and should be able to handle Uruguay. But their inexperience will show through versus another CONMEBOL powerhouse, Brazil.
Prediction: 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the semifinal. Sacre bleu.
Brazil: This team is so good, and I hate it. Mexico was so much fun to watch, and Brazil just steamrolled them. Apparently, Neymar’s dives have caused him to spend 14 minutes of the tournament rolling around on the ground. Very cool stuff.
Prediction: Brazil wins the whole thing because of course they do.
Belgium: Oh, Belgium you’ve looked so good and that comeback versus Japan was amazingly dramatic. If only they lost to England in the group stage, you could have one so far. But alas, you drew Brazil next and that’s where your tournament will end.
Prediction: 2-1 loss to Brazil in quarterfinal.
Russia: The Cinderella story of this tournament, if Cinderella hosted the ball and had a massive doping scandal swirling over her head. Jokes aside, it is impressive they have made it this far but it’s also difficult to root for this underdog. Maybe I feel this way because it’s hard to separate the team from the government, especially given their predilection for intertwining to the two. Either way I hope this team loses soon.
Prediction: 4-3 quarterfinals loss to Croatia in PK’s after a 1-1 draw. The loss incites a spree of hooliganism that is brutally snuffed out by local authorities.
Croatia: This team bores me. They seem like a speedbump for a better team. I hope they get by Russia, then fall to England. Still like the checkered jerseys though.
Prediction: 1-0 defeat to England.
Sweden: Still no Zlatan, still not interested.
Prediction: 1-0 defeat to England in quarterfinal.
England: Jolly ole England won a World Cup elimination game in penalty kicks!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow. Amazing. So proud, for some reason. Good news is that they have a very achievable path to the final and Harry Kane is a shoe-in for Golden Boot (aka the award for top scorer in the tournament.) Bad news is if they don’t choke before they reach the final, then they won’t beat whoever they meet there.
Prediction: England reaches the final and loses 3-1 to Brazil. Hopefully this result causes Nigel Farage to cry.
Featured image by Garrett McGinley.