"Of the World Cups I've seen with my own eyes, this has been the best. We're in a country where people live and breathe football, where football is a religion. I'm not surprised that we've witnessed extremely attacking football, with a lot of goals and entertainment." – Ivan ZomaranoThis is what the former Chilean great has to say about this edition of the world cup. And may I say, this has been the world cup of the upsets too with giants like Spain, Italy, England & Portugal already shown the door. Most of the match level predictions fell flat if you look at the predicted scores and what actually transpired. The group level predictions on who will qualify look a little better.
Group A wasn’t as close as I thought as Mexico played superbly even holding hosts Brazil to a draw.
Group B - Spain put up a dismal show and looked lost in the first two matches which Chile capitalized on. Netherlands played like champions but special mention must be made of Australia. Although the final scores don’t reflect it they played some real good football. The Netherlands-Australia being one of the best encounters this world cup.
Group C – Japan’s performance was below par and Greece scrambled through as predicted but it is Colombia who have put up a splendid show.
Group D - For Costa Rica to qualify as the top team in a group which has England, Italy and Uruguay is an amazing feat. Uruguay put their act together in the later part and got through largely due to Suarez. Now that Suarez is out, their fate in the world cup hangs in balance. England didn’t get through as predicted. Ital, the old war horse got trapped in its own tricks.
Group E – France and Switzerland got through as predicted although Ecuador game them a scare.
Group F – This group was better than I thought. Argentina got through with ease. But the other three teams including Iran fought well. Kudos to Nigeria for getting through; I am sad for Bosnia & Herzegovina though; they showed promise but couldn’t convert due to the lack of a good striker.
Group G – This group lived up to its expectations and finally got decided on goal difference. Portugal due to their routing at the hands of Germany lost out. Once again a reminder that great players alone can’t win you matches in football, they just provide you the edge but you need a good team to win. USA are looking a dangerous side under their German coach (you know who J). Ghana played well too but were unlucky.
Group H – Belgium topped the group as predicted but Algeria surprised – what a show against Korea. Russia didn’t do as well as anticipated.
Here are the predictions for the remaining matches with predictions for the finals and 3rd/4th match reserved JHave Fun!