So it is that part of the time when there is a break in the world cup with some heavy-weight quarterfinals lined up over the weekend.
Brazil vs Netherlands – 2 July 2010, 7.30 PM IST
In one of my earlier blogs I had mentioned about the traditional rivalry of these teams and the wonderful matches they have produced before in the earlier editions of the world cup. This one might not be as exciting is what I believe. Looking at the way both teams played so far they have never shown their attacking instincts in the way they traditionally play. So for all we know, it could go to the penalties and then it is anybody’s game. But on paper, the Brazilians are the favs to go through to the next round. Robben is back for the Dutch and that should provide them with a lot of attacking flair, but the efficient way in which the Brazilians have been playing I can’t see them losing to the Dutch.
Uruguay vs Ghana – 3 July 2010, 12 Midnight IST
The winner of this tie will be a fresh face in the World Cup semis. Ghana would be making it for the first time and Uruguay will be making it there after a long long time. The South American teams have impressed everybody and I still remember reading Tim Vickery’s blog in BBC where he boldly said that this time the South American teams will do really well. Uruguay is one such team and they deserve to be where they are now. With Suarez and Forlan in the front this team will definitely take their chances. I feel this is their time to shine and they will beat Ghana but not by a huge margin. Ghana has done themselves proud by reaching here. Essien was injured even before the World Cup started and Appiah and Muntari also had their troubles throughout the world cup.
Argentina vs Germany – 3 July 2010, 7.30 PM IST
I would not want to see this match now. I love Argentina and wanted them to win this World Cup and the way the Germans have played has also impressed me, so this is a match that is happening too early for me. The Germans are too clinical and might just pack off Argentina but lets hope Messi and gang do a miracle and win this match. As far as I am concerned, Germany would be the favourites knowing how bad the Argentina defence is. Ozil has been a revelation for the Germans and their forwards have also delivered when it mattered. Higuain is competing for the Golden Boot and should be looking to score a goal or two and Messi better break his duck.
Spain vs Paraguay
Riveros, Barrios, Villar, Alcaraz are not players who appear on newspapers in the football columns regularly. But they are the ones who are holding up the Paraguayan flag and ensuring they will bring cheer from the guys if Paraguay win the World Cup. There is a very interesting statistics on the FIFA Statistics page
After keeping Japan at bay, La Albirroja(Paraguay) have now gone a record 327 minutes without conceding a FIFA World Cup goal.
But I think Spain have now reached the mental state of putting it past unheralded opposition and should win this match, but after a bit of struggle. Torres had a few decent touches before he lost steam and was subed. David Villa is the man of all seasons and will soon overtake Raul as Spain top goal-scorer.