World Cup Previews: The Quarterfinals

01 July 2010

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan reacts during a training session by the Ghana national soccer team at Rand Stadium in Johannesburg. (Credit Image: © epa/ZUMApress.com)
It's hard to believe that it was only 3 weeks ago the World Cup opened with South Africa and Mexico. On Friday, the quarterfinals begin. To be honest, I was happy we had the 2 days to recharge the batteries because I had finally burned out.

These quarterfinals provide two great match-ups on paper, and two potential sleepers. We also still have the possibility of an all COMMEBOL semi-final.

With Jeff having family commitments on Friday, we have decided we will do all four quarterfinal matches tonight. Jeff's record currently sits at 28 wins, 20 losses, and 8 no results.Johnathan's record is 24 wins, 26 losses, and 6 no results.

Note: If we're using the handicap line, we will include what the spread is. If it spread is 0, a draw will mean no result. If we use the Over/Under line, just add the total number of goals scored in a match. Please note that this will all be based on the scoreline at Full Time (90 minutes). For betting purposes, only the result after 90 minutes are counted. Our odds are courtesy of Centsports.

Friday 10:00 am on ESPN: Holland v Brazil
Johnathan Starling: For the first time in this World Cup, Holland is completely healthy. Brazil will be without two key players in their starting eleven, and could be without two more. Holland played their round of sixteen match up like they were already through. That concerns me for one reason: it's hard to flip the switch after playing so lackadaisical just a few days prior. Brazil still has Kaka, and we all know the magic he can start. The problem I think for Brazil is, I think Kaka is also going to need to finish it as well. Since I think this game is going to end in extra time, my prediction is Holland +1 at -200. I do think however, Brazil will eventually win.
Jeff Hash: So, we lead off with the most anticipated of the 4 matchups. That figures for some reason. Putting that aside, the Netherlands did alright in defeating Slovakia, but it wasn't the most resounding win I've seen.  Brazil meanwhile, more than handled its business against Chile. I have a feeling the talent is about even between these two sides, and it will result in a bit of a bitter stalemate. I expect this game to be tight. My pick, then is to go under 2.5 goals at -140.

Friday 2:30 pm on ESPN: Uruguay v Ghana
Johnathan Starling: For one of these nations, their magical run through this World Cup is coming to an end. Both sides showed their poise in picking up late wins in the round of sixteen, but their form early in the second half has to be slightly called into question. Uruguay will have to deal with the most pace they have had to deal with so far at this World Cup, and that is a major concern. Ghana will have to deal with containing Luis Suarez, a man who seemingly can score from anywhere. I think when it's all said and done, I think Uruguay will absorb plenty of pressure in the first hour of this match, and attack with Ghana's legs start to fade. My prediction is Uruguay to win outright on even money.
Jeff Hash: Two great stories culminating in one big game at the quarterfinal stage with the South American underdogs and African long shots. Its great to see a game like this can happen in the last 8. But as far as Ghana goes, I'm really worried about the fact that they won't be full-strength due to suspensions for Andre Ayew and Jonathan Mensah. Throwing Luis Suarez on top of that seems to be too much for Ghana to take. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm with John: I will take Uruguay to win outright at even money.

Saturday 10:00 am on ABC: Argentina v Germany
Johnathan Starling: Controversy aside, both sides completely tore through the round of sixteen. If I had to be impressed about either one, I'd call it a draw. What do we know about both of these nations? I think it's pretty simple: they can attack with the best of them, and defend very well. However, where I am most concerned is when something doesn't go exactly in Germany's favor. They have melted down twice so far in this World Cup after unfavorable things happened, and their opposition struck. I have to be honest, after thinking for most of this week that this tie was extra time bound, I think Argentina extracts their pound of flesh from their elimination at this stage in 2006. My prediction is Argentina to win outright at +120.
Jeff Hash: In my mind, this game will produce the ultimate winner of this World Cup. Yes, I'm being serious about it. Both teams are flying around the field and making relatively few mistakes. Certainly, both teams are trading words around like they're playing for the title. But I have to wonder: has Argentina met a defense quite like Germany's yet? Some may say Greece, but to be honest, I think Germany is more actively dangerous with their backline. Germany, meanwhile, has shown plenty of goal prowess at just about any time. I think this one is poised to go the Europeans, but I think its going to take more than 90 minutes. So, my pick is to take Germany on the 0 at +130.

Saturday 2:30 pm on ABC: Paraguay v Spain
Johnathan Starling: Both sides played ugly round of sixteen matches, and came through in two totally different ways. However, I think Spain simply has too many weapons for Paraguay to overcome. While I think Paraguay can keep the scoreline respectable, I don't think they have a shot at winning. My prediction is Spain -1 at -130.
Jeff Hash: Consider this about Paraguay: they haven't scored in the last two games, and they were up against New Zealand and Japan. That's very troublesome as far as their chances of winning go. I can't see them coming good against Spain when they couldn't break the Oceania/Asian duo down. But Spain isn't scoring much either, totally 5 goals in 4 games. I'm think Spain will win, but I'm going to go the cheap route for a win: under 2.5 goals at -175.  Expect very little to happen in this one.

How do you think these Quarterfinals will go? Let us know in the comments below.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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