The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been a magnificent rollercoaster thus far and I don’t expect it to be any less outrageous in the knockout stage. Before I get further into this, let me just share the fact that I am not a huge soccer fanatic and I don’t follow the sport as close as I do others. Although, I do in fact absolutely love the World Cup and completely immerse myself into it when the spectacle arrives. There is no sporting event that can even compare to it. Witnessing the world come together the way it does for the World Cup is something no other sport can replicate. It’s also just really fun to watch, so that’s always nice.
Nonetheless, we’ve reached the knockout stage and it’s time to predict the Round of 16 matchups.
Uruguay vs Portugal – This one is simple really. One team has the worlds best player and the other doesn’t. Cristiano Ronaldo has been nothing short of sensational so far in this tournament and has given Portugal some serious momentum heading into the knockout stage. It’ll be close, but Portugal will pull this one out.
France vs Argentina – A couple of the biggest Futbol countries battling it out in the Round of 16? Yes, please. Seriously this is a World Cup Final caliber match. Argentina may have struggled a bit in the group stage, but it’d be foolish to sleep on them. Is France the better team? Probably. Will they win? Chances are yes. Will I pick them? Nope.
Brazil vs Mexico – This is a tough one. Mexico may not have ended the group stage on a high note, but they had a couple of pretty impressive wins. As for Brazil, well, they’re Brazil and they have some unfinished business to attend to. If I’m being honest, this game is a coin toss for me. I’m going to go with my gut feeling on this one.
Belgium vs Japan – Admittedly, I’ve only watched Japan play one match in this years tournament, but that one match was one that they won and looked pretty impressive. As for Belgium, they’ve looked ridiculously good. All while going undefeated in the group stage. I’m going to go with the clear favorite in this one.
Spain vs Russia – Russia’s victories against Saudi Arabia and Egypt were as dominant as they get, but they were also against the weakest competition in the entire tournament. Spain drew Portugal, defeated Iran and drew Morocco. Also, Spain is on an unbeaten streak of 23 games in international play. A much more impressive resume if you ask me.
Croatia vs Denmark – Croatia is arguably the hottest team in the entire tournament and I’d be silly to not ride with them…Right?
Sweden vs Switzerland – Here sits another toss up for me. I’ll go with the one with no losses.
Colombia vs England – This is the match I’m most excited for. Why? In each World Cup, I root hard for Colombia (when the U.S. is out of course) and they’ve looked fantastic since their little stumble against Japan. The thing is, England has looked ridiculous as well. I’m a bit nervous, to say the least. Viva Colombia.
This Round of 16 has so many great matches, I’d highly recommend watching as many as you can. I know I will.
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