After the "round of 16" comes the quarterfinals. Many that were expected to continue on have made it past their respected adversaries. Now that the fat has been trimmed, here comes the hard part.
In this round, many of the favourites are put up against each other. Now all you casual watchers better pay close attention to the happenings in this round. You could very well be watching some of the greatest football on this planet, of this era.
1) Netherlands v. Brazil
Now, I know a lot of you are going, "WHAT? Netherlands over Brazil? What is this madness!" Well, I'm telling you this, Netherlands could take this one. Could, doesn't mean will though. As strong as the Brazilians are this year, and no matter how well they played this tournament, I believe the Dutch can push past them and onto the semi's.
The Dutch have one of the strongest squads this year! I cannot stop repeating that. A lot of the Dutch internationals had breakout seasons with their respective clubs. And maybe if they didn't win the league, they had a great posting of points! With the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, and Dirk Kuyt up front, there isn't much to worry about scoring. The Dutch have been relatively not talked about, but now is time to talk. They've got what it takes to win this one, but will Brazil be typical Brazil and pull out some magic to win?
2) Uruguay v. Ghana
I'm all for Ghana winning and showing that African football is as good as the rest of the world's, but there isn't a great chance for them to come out of this one. It would be great and pure cool beans if they did, but the Uruguayans have that Latin American thing going on.
Uruguay have a style that the Latin Americans have created. After dominance by Europeans and Brazil, it's time for the other nations to shine and Uruguay is a strong gunner from South America to compete in the World Cup.
3) Argentina v. Germany
My rain reason for picking Argentina: I don't want Germany to win.
Next to the Netherlands/Brazil match, this might be the one the one to watch. Argentina is the team with the bejewelled names and the artistic style of play. Argentina is the squad with the magical finesse to the ball and a fiery midget for a coach (Maradona).
But Germany, Die Mannschaft, has got their own groove going. Their aggressive, powerhouse style has done them well so far, eh? Their robotic defensive have turned away most goal-scorers from their net and their powerful forwards have charged right into the other team's net. Like every well-oiled machine, there are its kinks and leaks. Once Argentina find a break in the robot, it's all falling apart for Germany there and that is where Argentina will take full control of the situation.
4) Paraguay v. Spain
Paraguay have surprised a lot of people by making it past the round of 16. Never before have they seen this much football. And a first for Paraguay might be their last taste of World Cup football for the next 4 years. Paraguay have never played against the likes of anyone like Spain throughout this world cup.
Spain play a possessive game, a tightly wound defence, and a very good set up front. Any man can be pulled off of that bench, put on the pitch, and perform just as well as the person they took off (most of the time). La Roja has been set up like that. There are many formats and styles that the Spaniards can play in to get the job done. And I do not believe that they won't get it done.
Paraguay, no matter how happy and confident they are, will not be able to go against one of the two heavy favourites to win this. This is Spain's to win and nothing can stop them now!