World Cup: 5 Top Games Week 1
Last updated on May 24th, 2016 at 10:39 am
Here at Average Joes, we’re fully gripped by World Cup Fever and many of us will be attempting to watch every single game on offer (including Honduras v Switzerland (maybe)). But we also appreciate that not all of you are as fanatical as we are and/or have a life.
So we’re going to be giving you a Top 5 games to watch each gameweek so you can get the best the tournament has to offer without having to know too much or have to sift through your TV guide for hours on end. We’re assuming watching England is a given, so here are our other suggestions for the opening week.
Brazil v Croatia – Thursday 12th June 21:00 on ITV1
This is obviously a no-brainer with the hosts and favourites in action on the opening night. I mean, really what else are you going to be doing on a Thursday night? We should expect a Brazil win but we also think it’ll be closer than some expect. Croatia are extremely handy, particularly going forward with Mandzukic and Modric and even finished 3rd in 1998. It would be churlish not to back the Samba Boys, however.
Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Croatia
Key Players – Neymar (Brazil)/Modric (Croatia)
Spain v Netherlands – Friday 13th June 20:00 on BBC1
It’s almost too obvious to put in our Top 5 as we all know A) that we should watch it, and B) that Spain will probably win by the odd goal. But we think there’s more at stake in this game than some may realise. Chile are also in the group and will be very dangerous especially as the tournament is in South America. We think the loser might have their work cut out to get out of the group and it’s a ‘must-not-lose’ type of game. On paper, the Dutch squad has a glaring problem at the back and you have to expect a narrow but ultimately comfortable win for the defending champions. Their tournament fortunes overall may depend on getting Diego Costa fit in time, though.
Prediction: Spain 1-0 Netherlands
Key Players – D. Costa (Spain)/V. Persie (Netherlands)
Ivory Coast v Japan – Sunday 15th June 02:00 on ITV1
Ok. This one will take some persuading but hear us out. Yes it’s on at 2am but we think it should be a cracker. Mainly because it’s a tough group where every team will feel they’ve got a chance of progressing – this should mean both teams will be going all out to win unlike the England game, for example, where a point is no bad result for either side. Both team possess quality going forward but suffer at the back with the wonderfully woeful Kolo Toure and Maya Yoshida respectively holding fort. We expect goals. We know it’s a big ask to stay up into the early hours for a game where the majority will be neutrals – but it is on a Saturday night and hopefully we’ll all be celebrating an England win which should make it easier. Alternatively, just record it!
Prediction: Ivory Coast 3-2 Japan
Key Players – Y. Toure (Ivory Coast)/Kagawa (Japan)
Germany v Portugal – Monday 16th June 17:00 on ITV1
Along with Spain-Netherlands, this is the standout tie of the gameweek. Both are probably in the top 5 sides in Europe but unlike the loser of the Spain game, the loser of this should still have a fairly straightforward passage through the group with Ghana and the USA providing little genuine threat. Having said that, the quality of football on show should be some of the best you’ll see all week and we make Germany one of our four favourites to win the thing along with Argentina, Spain and Brazil. We’re intrigued to see how they start.
Prediction: Germany 2-1 Portugal
Key Players – Götze (Germany)/Ronaldo (Portugal)
Russia v South Korea – Tuesday 17th June 23:00 on BBC1
Much like Ivory Coast v Japan, we expect both teams to go all out for the win here. With an unexperienced but undeniably strong Belgium side likely to top the group and Algeria simply making up the numbers, we reckon this could be a cracker and a must win for both. It might be a little tighter than Ivory Coast v Japan, but it will be tense and both teams are technically very good on the ball so the quality should be decent enough too.
Prediction: Russia 2-1 South Korea
Key Players: Dzagoev (Russia)/Son (South Korea)
There we go, our World Cup Best Games and Predictions for Week 1! Stay tuned for next week! All done? Check out Game Week 2!