World Cup: 5 Top Games Week 2
Well it’s started out pretty well hasn’t it? Shocks, controversy, goals aplenty and some excellent football. Every side (baring Nigeria and the Honduras hatchet mob) has looked to be positive in their intentions. So much so that it’s the first tournament since 1950 to not feature a draw in it’s first 10 games. Of course, the England result was disappointing but there’s every reason to have hope that we can get through the group.
Here we go with our Top 5 games of the second Gameweek of the World Cup. On paper, there aren’t too many obvious standouts unlike Gameweek 1 – England v Uruguay is the obvious choice but we know you’ll be watching that. Having said all that, it looks like we could just about pick anything to watch and be entertained. Here are our choices for Gameweek 2 anyway.
Spain v Chile – Wednesday 18th June 20:00 on BBC1
We’re not sure anyone on the planet predicted the demolition of Spain last Friday. The first real shock of the tournament couldn’t have been any bigger. The panic the Dutch pace caused was extraordinary and it could and should have been more than the 5. We predicted a 1-0 Spain win, for love of God! So if you’re reading this – thank you for coming back. We also said the loser of that would have a big task of getting out of the group with a solid Chile lurking in the shadows. We still think that’s the case and this is a ‘must win’ game for Spain and is therefore a must watch for us. Chile got the job done against Australia but we shouldn’t get carried away. Spain are still the reigning European and World champions. While their tournament stock has dropped, you’d still have to fancy them.
Prediction: Spain 2-1 Chile
Key Players: D. Silva (Spain)/A. Sanchez (Chile)
Colombia v Ivory Coast – Thursday 19th June 17:00 on BBC1
Two goals in quick succession ensured Ivory Coast won the crunch match of the group so far against Japan. Colombia looked incredibly comfortable against a dire Greece team and we therefore expect both teams to get through this group now. This is in our Top 5 as we think it’ll give us a good indication where both teams will fare later down the line in the competition. Colombia, in particular, are many people’s dark horses due to home continent soil as much as anything else. If they can put in a performance against Ivory Coast, we may start to believe the hype.
Prediction: Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast
Key Players: J. Rodriquez (Colombia)/Bony (Ivory Coast)
Italy v Costa Rica – Friday 20th June 17:00 on BBC1
Two massive results for these two in the openers of the group have made things complicated in Group D. ‘Permutations’ is the word that all England fans have learnt in the past few days. To keep it simple, we need an Italian win here. And taking the emotion out of it, we should expect one. Although we expected a comfortable one for Uruguay on Saturday too. Costa Rica were excellent and thoroughly deserved their unexpected win against Suarez & co. This is obviously a must watch for us English but we also think it could be an end-to-end corker for a neutral given Costa Rica’s performance last week. Could they really do it again?
Prediction: Italy 3-1 Costa Rica
Key Players: Balotelli (Italy)/Campbell (Costa Rica)
Belgium v Russia – Sunday 22nd June 17:00 on BBC1
First of all, we’re going to humbly take credit for suggesting a key man in the Russia v South Korea game would be Alan Dzagoev. He changed the game when he was introduced and salvaged a priceless point for the Russians. As we thought it might be, it was a tense affair that leaves this group wide open. While Belgium can be criticised for a less than convincing win against Algeria, they showed great composure and grit to grind that win out. Algeria were also far less rubbish than most of us had anticipated and were hard to break down. Belgium are in pole position but this game should show us how far Belgium can go. They can’t afford a defeat anyway. For Russia, this is a game they’ll probably be happy with a point from. We think it’ll be close as both sides can’t afford to lose it but it should once again mean a tense match.
Prediction: Belgium 2-1 Russia
Key Players: Hazard (Belgium)/Dzagoev (Russia)
USA v Portugal – Sunday 22nd June 23:00 on BBC1
This has become the crunch match of Group G. Germany, as we thought they might, look serious contenders to win the World Cup after their 4-0 drubbing of Portugal. As good as the Germans were, Portugal were dreadful. Don’t forget they were 2-0 down before Pepe’s moment of inevitable bonkersness. The USA on the other hand showed real character to snatch a late winner against an under-rated Ghana team. It’s more a ‘must not lose’ than a ‘must win’ for both but Portugal will obviously need the confidence of a win if they’re to go any sort of distance in Brazil. We think it’ll be tight. But you should probably expect a Ronaldo goal and shirt off celebration to match.
Prediction: USA 1-2 Portugal
Key Players: Dempsey (USA)/Ronaldo (Portugal)
We should probably make it clear that we have no contractual obligation with the BBC! We think they just have the interesting games this week. Promise! It should also be said that they don’t have the game of the week in England v Uruguay (ITV Thursday at 8pm, incase you didn’t know). We’ll give you our Gameweek 3 picks this weekend. Come on, England!!