Just a few last thoughts on the round of 16 games.
Kudos to Japan. They really exceeded expectations and played some good football. I had them getting zero points and didn't even give them a player to watch. A bit off I was. They belonged in the second round and one could definitely argue that they would not be undeserving of the quarter finals.
Spain - Still not looking like the World Cup Favorite. They are an amazing passing team. They always seem to have at least two or three options when on the ball, but are still having trouble breaking down defenses when they put 10 men behind the ball. Torres was not at all lively yesterday, almost looking uninterested and lazy. The sub Llorente certainly brought something different for Spain. He was the target man that Torres is not, and his height and energy gives Spain another option besides their short passing game. I think Torres will still start, but look for Llorente around the 60th minute if Spain are having trouble breaking down Paraguay.
Brazil/Netherlands - Great matchup, one people saw coming pretty much as soon as the World Cup Draw came out. The Dutch are 4-0, but still not hitting on all cylinders. The return of Robben will give Brazil something to think about and I think Brazil can be hit on the counter attack, a prime example being the US game last summer. The defense of Holland needs to be stronger than they have in games past. Brazil will not miss the chances that Japan and Slovakia did.
Big Dunc is rooting for: Netherlands
Ghana/Uruguay - In probably the least anticipated quarter final match, two teams which I had finishing 3rd in their group. Give Uruguay the edge on the attack front, with Forlan and Suarez, but Ghana could take this one if they control the midfield like against the US. Uruguay's unheralded midfielders will have to disrupt Ghana's flow and feed their strikers.
Big Dunc rooting for: Ghana
Germany/Argentina - Probably the two teams in best form in this World Cup. Both have put forth impressive offensive and defensive displays so far. Defense remains the bigger question mark for both. I wouldn't be surprised if both teams come out much more guarded and defensive than in their last games. I think the speed of Messi and Tevez has an edge over Germany's defense. The ability of Germany to counter attack, though, will make this one interesting. I'm hoping for a 3-2 or so game, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a 1-0 with the first team to score setting up shop in the back.
Big Dunc rooting for: Germany
Spain/Paraguay - Spain is the clear favorite in this one, but I expect it to be another close game, probably similar to Spain's win against Portugal. Paraguay have not given up a goal since their first game. Spain will need Villa to remain in form to break down the Paraguay D.
Big Dunc rooting for: Spain
Some potential great m
atches. From the looks of it, I hate South America, but rate them well.