We arrive at Day 2 of the Knockout Stage with France and Uruguay safely through to the Quarterfinals. Who will join them today?
Game The First
Spain v Russia
7 AM Pacific, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Balls: On paper, this should be a breeze for Spain to advance. Russia is just not that talented and showed it in an embarrassing loss to Uruguay. Spain has not hit its stride yet and may start scaring people after this one.
Predicción: España 3 Rusia 0
Hippo: Hopefully, this is kind of an ass whoopin, and probably will be. That said, Spain has underwhelmed, and FIFA will want to tickle the host’s balls a little bit, because that’s how FIFA roll.
Predicción: Spain limps on, 2-1.
Litre_Cola: Ok, enough dicking around. Spain will pass around these guys and not be intimidated in the least with having to play in Russia. Russia was the lowest ranked team coming in. Russia had their moment in the sun winning those 2 games. They are done. If they wouldn’t mind taking out Ramos while they are busy getting passed around that would be just great.
Predicción: España 4 – 1 Russiya It has been fun Russia, but goodbye. When do we hear about the PED tests?
Wakezilla: Like most favorites in this tournament, Spain struggled in the group stage, but ultimately managed to clinch first. Most importantly for Spain, is that Costa and Isco are starting to play well. If they can build on their group stage performances, Spain is going to be a scary team to play. Moreover, what a lot of people are not talking about right now is the fact that while David de Gea gave up a softy that cost Spain three points against Portugal, he has been perfectly cromulent the rest of the way. What is concerning for Spain, however, is their defense. I just watched the Spain/Morocco highlights and holy shit, they made a lot of costly turnovers and De Gea bailed them out. Neither of the two goals he gave up were his fault. While Russia aren’t known for their deadly strikers, if Spain keeps turning the ball over, Golovin or Cheryshev will eventually burn them.
As for Russia, they’re just happy to be in the round of 16. They have home field advantage and if what we saw with Ronaldo is any indication, Russian fans are likely going to be hanging outside of Spain’s hotel, making lots of noise to ensure they don’t get a lot of sleep.
Predicción: As we saw yesterday, we’re at the phase of the tournament where things get a little more predictable. Russia having home field advantage will likely keep this game close. Factor in Golovin now expected to sign with Chelski and I suspect this will be a spirited affair. However, Spain is too talented and this is a type of game that could really propel them into finding their top form. In a score that will flatter the Rooskies, Spain will win 2-1. Lets say Isco and Costa will score for Spain, while Cheryshev capitalizes on a Spanish turnover.
Game The Second
Croatia v Denmark
11 AM Pacific, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
Balls: Of all the teams that could bother the Croatians, Denmark is one of the most dangerous. That’s not to say the Danes play well or pretty football. They don’t.
What they do is effectively kill the opposing offense’s creativity and score on the counterattack. Sweden does the same thing and Sweden is also in the Round of 16.
Croatia will need to play an almost perfect game and have a moment or two of genius to overcome the Danes. Ideally, the Croats will score first and then laugh as the Danes can’t create on offense.
Prediction: This game ends one of two ways: Either a tight and tense 1-0 win for Croatia or a 0-0 tie that goes to penalties in which Denmark goes through.
Hippo: There’s no doubt that Croatia, along with the Waffles, played the most flawless Lesser Footy in the Group stages. But I am also a yuuuuuuggggge Christian Eriksen fan, and he has elevated this Denmark side significantly. There’s a combination of precision, creativity, and discipline that is very dangerous – especially if the Murder Checkerboards (h/t Balls, methinks) are caught looking ahead.
Predicción: 1-1 Draw (Denmark advances on PKs)
Wakezilla: On paper, Denmark being unbeaten in their last 16 games is impressive. But the truth is, they’re everything that’s wrong with international lesser footy. They’re unbeaten in 16 because they play—albeit really well—a boring, systematic defensive game. It’s not like they don’t have talented players, because they do (see: Eriksen, Christian). Don’t get me wrong, I love it when non-traditional lesser footy powers have success–just not when they play an “I-rather-watch-paint-dry” boring type of game. Even how they advanced to the round of 16 is boring because they tied 2 games, won one, and scored a whopping 2 goals. In all honesty, Denmark didn’t deserve to beat Peru. Fuck Denmark and their shit lesser footy.
Before the tournament began, I picked Croatia as my darkhorse to win the World Cup. So far, they are the only team that has made me look good. They are a well-balanced team that is currently rolling. They played tougher opponents than Denmark and I think playing Iceland gave them a preview of what to expect from the Danes.
Proricanje: Croatia is one of the most consistent teams in this tournament and have the talent and patience to wait out Denmark’s bullshit defensive system. Consequently, Croatia is going to win an incredibly boring 1-0 match, with Rakitic scoring in the 88th minute.
Litre_Cola: For me this game basically comes down to Eriksen vs Modric. Who can take over the game and run the offense. Both players are adept passers and lethal when given space. I think that this is an even matchup. They have only met 5 times in the past so there is not a history there. I think that this will be a boring 1st half and then it will open up in the 2nd half.
Forudsigelse: Denmark 1 – Hrvatska 0 the ole Twbs, with 5 of 8 minutes of injury time added on.