The World Cup quarterfinals begin on Friday, with eight teams vying for four spots to move on to the next round. Here is a look at what to expect from each match up. And like we learned from the round of 16… expect close matches and expect the unexpected.
Time 12:00 P.M. on Friday
Both France and Germany were expected to be in this situation. The Germans, however, had quite the scare against the Algerians in the round of 16. There is no question that Germany holds a powerful attack, however, the French will ask plenty of questions of that slow backline. The Germans will certainly have their hands full trying to contain Karim Benzema up front.
Seven German players do have the flu, so how fit are the Germans.
Prediction: 2-1 France; if it goes extra time advantage Germans.
Time 4:00 P.M. on Friday
Brazil had a huge scare coming into their match on Friday. Chile took the "pentacampeon" to penalties. Once again Brazil looked flat in the midfield and disjointed up front. Colombia on the other hand has been hot throughout the tournament. The Colombians have scored 11 goals in this tournament –second to the Netherlands.
Brazil's defense has been one to let in a few easy goals this tournament, with Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez having a great tournament, it will be hard to see the five-time champion contain him for 90 plus minutes. However, Colombia love to go forward, which will open things up for Neymar and company.
Time 12:00 P.M. on Saturday
Argentina is a favorite to win this competition, while Belgium is many people's dark horse. Both teams had to fight in order to even be in this round, with extra time winners after lack luster performances. Belgium will certainly continue on their strategy. Expect the Belgians to sit back and counter Lionel Messi and company on Saturday.
Argentina has not played its best in this competition yet, with Messi leading the charge for them. But can the Belgians contain him for 90 minutes? At least they have one of the best goal keepers in the world as the last line of defense. Belgium's defense will struggle against Argentina, but if the South Americans don't fix the problems in the back, one counter might be the difference.
Prediction: 2-1 Belgium
Time 4:00 P.M. on Friday
Netherlands has been piling on the goals during the tournament, with a competition high 12 goals. They needed a lot of luck to move past Mexico. and Costa Rica, like El Tri, has a very stingy defense. The Dutch needed a penalty to move forward in the competition, and they will not underestimate Costa Rica. The Netherlands could very well play on the counter, as they have done so many times, with Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie once again providing width and balls forward.
Costa Rica has only conceded twice this tournament, once coming from the spot, so it will certainly take something special to get past keeper Keylor Navas. But I think the Dutch just might have too many weapons to contain.