The group stage is over and the knockout rounds are set to begin. A few days before the tournament began, Collin and I gave our predictions for the 16 teams that would be going through, so lets take a look at how we did.
Group Stage Review:
In Group A we predicted that the hosts Canada would go through as the group winners. We picked China to go through in 2nd, and the Netherlands in 3rd with enough points to go through. Somehow, we were perfect in our assessment in Group A!
Group B was a different animal. Germany were the clear favorites to win the group, and they did. We went with Norway going through in second, while Thailand and Ivory Coast fail to advance. Once again, we were correct in our prediction. The tie between Germany and Norway was quite the surprise, but it didn’t change the group drastically at all.
The defending champions were in Group C, so you always get something extra special from these groups. We picked Japan to win the group, which they did. From there we picked Switzerland to finish 2nd and go through, while Cameroon and Ecuador not to advance, which was our first mistake in our predictions. Cameroon ended up 2nd in the group, securing an automatic place in the Round of 16, while Switzerland finished 3rd in the group. Switzerland did go through with enough points, so we were not too far off.
Onto the Group of Death, ironically Group D. This might have been the craziest of all the groups, and anytime it is the Group of Death, you know some surprises are bound to happen. We picked Sweden to win the group, with USA finishing 2nd, and Australia to also go through in 3rd. All three teams did indeed go through, but in a different order. The US won the group, while Australia finished a shocking second, and Sweden barely scraped through on Goal Differential.
Group E was one team, and everyone else. Brazil did indeed dominate the group as we predicted, finished 5 points clear of the 2nd place squad. We picked South Korea to slide into the 2nd spot, and they did with the help of a final match win over Spain. We did pick Spain to finish 3rd and go through, but they finished 4th. Costa Rica finished 3rd, but did not go through. So our Spain pick was off, but we did nail the top 2 of the group.
Group F was another tough group. We picked France to win the group, with England finishing 2nd. That is exactly what happened. We also predicted Colombia to go through in 3rd, which also happened. We nailed this group perfectly.
Overall we correctly predicted 15 out of the 16 knockout stage nations. We predicted three of the six groups perfectly, while only messing up the order of those that went through in another. That is a pretty solid 93% accuracy. I will try to outdo that number by predicting the Round of 16.
Round of 16 Predictions
The entire top portion of the bracket seems to be a bit stronger than the bottom side. 4 of the Top 5 teams in the world are on the top side, including 3 who are in the same quarterfinal draw. In the first match of the top side of the bracket, we have China and Cameroon. I’m going to go bold with this pick and say that Cameroon wins this matchup. In the next section, the USA beats Colombia despite the Colombians guarantee of victory. So the quarterfinal matchup will be USA and Cameroon in Ottawa.
In the next section we have Germany facing Sweden. No one expected these two Top 5 teams to meet so early in the knockout round, and with potential Olympic places on the line, this matchup has some extra zeal. I have Germany taking the win in this one. On the other side there is France and South Korea. Despite some stumbles, I think France moves on to face Germany in Montreal.
The bottom side doesn’t have quite the rankings, but it has the same level of intensity. The first match has Australia against Brazil. I’ll take Australia with the huge upset, moving on to the quarterfinals. The next match has the defending champs Japan taking on the Netherlands. Japan humbly win this match and move onward.
One of the best Round of 16 matchups is Norway vs England. In the match between the two European squads, I’ll take Norway to win this one. The final Round of 16 match features the hosts Canada against Switzerland. I like the hosts to move on and face Norway. There is sure to be plenty of excitement with these matchups, and I am very excited to see if I can keep my awesome prediction record going.