Germany vs Argentina
This is tricky to predict. Germany have been improving every game, but so have Argentina. Germany have not met any real world class competition since the tournament started. Argentina on the other hand have met Netherlands, Ivory Coast (it's their first time but i think they are world class), and their 6-0 demolition of (former) S & M was arguably the performance of the tournament so far.
Germany have a fanatical following being @ home, and their squad doesn't play the 'old boring soccer' that we've come to expect from Germany.
The key i think would be the defence & midfield. Argentina I think will be content to let Germany come at them and hit them on the break, while seeking to slow down the game and let Riquelme control things. This could be one of those 1-0 or Penalty games. Argentina on the other hand always look like they can score if they wish to. The German defence has not really been tested. It now faces a world class test.
Looking at the Benches of both sides. Argentina seem to have the upper hand here..
Prediction (2-1 to Argentina after extra time).
England vs Portugal
England have played some really boring soccer far. Flashes of brilliance from Joe Cole on occasion and abit of the Gerrard that we see in Liverpool. Lampard and Gerrard don't seem to play well together in the middle of the park. Owen is out, and we continue to wonder why Walcott is on the squad if he's not going to play. I think most (if not all) of the other squads have had all their strikers play some role so far in the tournament.
Portugal are missing two key players (possibly three if ronaldo is not fit). However they have a very good midfield, Tiago can replace Costinha; the trick would be to replace Deco and Ronaldo (if he can't make it).
England I would think will be slight favourites in this one. But struggled to play against Ecuador. Only scored via a free kick that in my opinion wasn't well defended (though very well struck by Becks). Ecuador had their share of chances.. You get the feeling that Portugal will create far more chances than them. Portugal's defence held up under the quite potent (but unlucky?) Dutch forwards.. Rooney (a.k.a Taz :) ) is always a handful but if unsupported he could struggle. I suspect that Sven will play the same formation as he did against Ecuador so as to deny Portugal the space to move the ball around.. Figo and Pauleta have instrumental roles.. but i think the guy to watch out for is Maniche....
Prediction (this could go either way but i think England gets in at 2-1 but only barely)
Italy vs Ukraine
Italy have managed to put aside the corruption scandals back home and concentrate on winning the World Cup. I thought they may struggle against the Czech, after their game with USA. However their defence in my opinion has been their greatest strength (how many times has that been said :) ). Against Australia, their defence came to their rescue.. Despite the award winning dive, I still think Italy deserved it after surviving for quite a while with 10 men. Australia really have themselves to blame.
Ukraine have moved on from their 4-0 thrashing and are slowly showing the world that they too can win games :). Schevy maybe the recognizable star (apart from Rebrov), but as a team, they do play well.
Italy's strike force is quite potent.. I think we are yet to see the best of it. Toni has been particularly impressive.
Prediction (Italy 1-0)
Brazil vs France
Brazil have played not very impressive soccer, but they've managed to win. They really haven't met a team that could give them a run around really. Their defence looked particularly porous in the Ghana game, and with a team capable of finishing, they'd have been punished.
France have managed to gain form after a rather dull opening. Beating Spain was no mean feat (despite all the controvesy of Henry alleged acting, I still think the free kick was defendable, and they didn't score from open play unlike the french with Ribery's first senior goal). Their defence, even with the aging Thuram looked good.
This could be a tricky one to predict, but i'll go against what most guys would want...
Prediction (France 2-1)
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