The tournament is moving on now and we are into the last eight. England are still there (wahey) and Brazil and Germany (boo) and this is the first World Cup for a while that so many of the big guns were at this stage.
Six of the eight teams have already won the World Cup and Portugal were the finalists of the Euro two years ago. Ukraine are the only underdogs but in truth are a new team, being as they were part of Russia not too long ago. I remember when the U.S.S.R. lost to Holland in the 1988 Euro, they had nine players from Dynamo Kiev.
All eight are giants in one way or another…
Friday 30th June 2006
Germany vs Argentina
Monkey’s Prediction: 2-1
The biggest quarter final match of the four, this is truly the battle of the giants and a question of the lesser of two evils for me. It is also the match of countless dilemmas as in my heart I would England to meet Germany in the final and beat them in their own backyard. While that would be a dream scenario, it would also be really tough and meeting Argentina would be a fairer tie as the German fans are proving to be a very useful 12th player.
Argentina looked much hotter than Germany in the group stages but then looked a little wobbly against Mexico in the second round. Germany on the other hand massacred a good Sweden team and would have scored many more if not for the fact that they took their feet off the pedal after a blistering first fifteen minutes.
I want Argentina to win but think that 12th man might make the difference.
Italy vs Ukraine
Monkey’s Prediction: 1-0
My second team for so many years and god do I want them to go out tonight. I am still annoyed at that penalty in the game against Australia and I really don’t think Italy deserve to go through to the semi-finals. Unfortunately I think they will as Toni is going to get his first goal and Italy will shut up shop as they do so well.
Saturday 1st July 2006
England vs Portugal
Monkey’s Prediction: 2-0
I think we are a better team than Portugal and they are almost decimated by the loss of Deco, Costinha and so many others on yellows after the horror game against Holland. There is lots of talk about the famous third time lucky meeting between Scolari and Ericsson but they are different teams and I feel England will do the job here.
Brazil vs France
Monkey’s Prediction: 1-2
One of the first times I have ever predicted against Brazil but here is one tough nut for them to crack. Spain were so impressive in their group games and came up against a brick wall when they met France, not even scoring a goal in open play. Brazil are apparently only playing to 60% of their capacity and so they may amaze when up against ‘real’ competition. I think Brazil have had a pretty smooth journey so far and this is their biggest test; I think they’ll come unstuck (yes I very much hope so too!).