Friday, June 30, 2006

Quater-finals: Day 2

After a day that saw Germany beat a tired Argentina on penalty kicks only to see emotion get the best of the teams afterwards and Italy finally winning an important game without some help from the refs, we get the Saturday match-ups.

England vs. Portugal
ABC - 11am ET

I'll just say it, England have played the worse soccer of all the 8 quarterfinalists (Italy would be 7th), yet somehow they keep finding ways to win. The good news from them, Gary Neville and Frank Lampard are back from their injuries. In addition, Portugal has listed Cristiano Ronaldo as questionable (although I think he will end up starting, but will be subbed out) and they will be without Costinha and Deco after the card happy Holland game.

All this should add up to a happy ending for England, but the problem is their team has been piss poor this whole cup. Yet all the ingredients are there for this to be their brake out match, but will it happen?

Portugal's best plan of attack would be a defensive one for the first third. Get the English fans whistling at their own team and then turnout the all out push. Luck has gone England's way, but luck can only last so long (unless you are Brazil).

Still, I think one unexpected player will step-up for England and make a big play, thus allowing their side to move along.

Prediction: England 2-1 Portugal

Brazil vs. France
ESPN - 3pm ET

One could make a great argument that Zinedine Zidane reached his best play during the 1998 final against Brazil, so it is only fitting that his wonderful career brings him back up against his South American foes. Sadly for Zidane, I think 2006 will be very different then '98.

France was amazing against Spain, but that was their only good game so far. For Brazil, they have not looked great, but even a so-so Brazil team is a really good team. The big question is will Robinho play. He suffered a thigh injury prior to the Ghana match and missed the game, but he was able to practice with the team the last couple days.

If France wants any chance of knocking out the favorites, they will need Thierry Henry to provide a high-powered second offensive strike force and Frank Ribery needs to continue the show he started against Spain.

Still, Brazil is king and I don't think France has what it takes to dethrone them. It will be a good match and will be tight, but France will go home.

Prediction: Brazil 3-1 France


Anonymous Anonymous said...

France 1-0 Brazil

4:24 PM  

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