My Round of 16 predictions

Last-minute clinchers vs French U-23 national team

The youngest team at this World Cup, France who sport prodigies like Dembele, Fekir, Pogba, and Mbappé will face off against Argentina. It is important to note how “clutchly” Argentina got here. After getting destroyed by Croatia and tying to Iceland, they clinched a win against the Nigerians and were fortunate that Iceland didn’t beat Croatia which would have surely eliminated them. It will be close, but “Messigican” will spearhead his side past France’s youthful nimbleness, who drew to Denmark and only beat Peru and Australia by a goal each. Argentina will win.

Ronaldortugal vs Unconceded Uruguay 

Uruguay went unconceded in this group stage and have a deadly duo up front (Cavani & Suarez). They are always a team to beat. However, Ronaldo’s unparalleled captaincy of this otherwise, mediocre Portuguese team, will beat the South Americans. The Ballon d’Or winner for two years in a row is on fire and he will surely score in the match. while Uruguay did win their group, they had the easiest teams to go up against. They will surely put up a fight, but won’t be able to beat Portugal.

Mediocre Mexicans vs Brazilian all-stars

As much as the initial hype Mexico had of defeating Germany, they haven’t convinced me of being a team who can beat the star-studded Brazilian side. Their last devastating 3-0 loss against Sweden will haunt them. Hopefully, Neymar can stop getting fouled so routinely in this tournament and can bag a couple of goals for his nation. And, I can surely imagine how ecstatic Brazil must be after the team who ruthlessly raped them 7-1 in the last world cup, didn’t even get out of their group (Germany). Brazil will reign supreme.

Belgian Golden-era vs Samurai Blues

This is the Golden-era for Belgian football, everybody knows it. Belgium is jacked with virtuosos like Hazard, Carassco, Lukaku, Courtois etc. Furthermore, they won a group that had England and Tunisia. In their last match, they confidently defeated the English. They will assassinate the Japanese. Despite topping a group with Poland and Colombia, Japan will not be able to beat the Belgians. It will be nearly impossible. The Samurai Blues will go in with tenacity and fervour nonetheless, akin to their remarkable win over Colombia. However, Belgium is incomparable to a 10-man struggling Colombia who Japan beat. Belgium will be victorious.

Spanish Resuscitation vs Overachieving Hosts

Spain has been resuscitated after their humiliating 2014 World Cup campaign and is looking as strong as ever. Iniesta, Isco, Costa, and Ramos have been all playing quintessential Spanish football and they won a difficult group that featured Portugal and Iran. They will destroy Russia. Even though Russia exceeded my expectations in the group stage, wins over lacklustre Egyptian and Saudi teams couldn’t possibly translate to a win over Spain. Spaniards can kick back and relax for this one. They’ll take an easy dub.

Mighty Croats vs European underdogs

Croatia topped my “Group of Death,” defeating Nigeria and Argentina, an extremely impressive feat. With adept and reliable players like Modrić, Rakitić, Mandžukić and Vida, they will be tough to beat. Denmark didn’t deserve to come out of their group, in my opinion, and unless Christian Eriksen can lead an offensive masterclass for his team, the mighty Croats will murder them. It should be a one-sided game for Croatia and they could probably even play their B players and still beat the Danes.

Stalwart Swiss vs Zlatan-less Zcandinavians 

Okay, fine, I have a thing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He is one of the best players in football history, and Sweden omitted him from their squad apparently because of his age and supposed “‘selling-out” since he moved to LA Galaxy. I am still pissed off about that, however, I digress. The Swiss played quite well in their group, defeating Serbia and impressively tying to Brazil. With star-players like Xerdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka leading the team’s attack, they will be hard to beat. However, the Swedes have been astonishingly strong so far, after winning a group that had Mexico and Germany in it. The question is, whether their Zlatan-lessness will come to haunt their offensive prowess or if it will bolster their collectiveness and qualitative homogeneity. I think the former will be substantiated and the manager will regret his imbecilic decision. It will be close, but Switzerland will win.

Not-yet-flopped Britain vs Subpar South Americans  

England has actually not flopped so far! They killed Panama 6-1 and managed to beat a formidable Tunisian team. This form will extend into the round of 16 when they will defeat Colombia. “Its coming home” memes may epidemically spam my Instagram feed on a daily basis, but there is some definite hope for England in this World Cup. The captain of the team, Harry Kane, is the top scorer in this World up and will surely be bombarding the Colombia goal with shots. He’ll catalyze England’s close but certain win over the South Americans, who lost to Japan and barely scratched a 1-0 win against the Senegalese. If James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao build some kind of lethal offensive partnership, however, they will not make it easy for the Brits.





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Eric Linus Kaplan

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