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What can happen in knock out rounds?

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2014-06-27 22:56:00
What can happen in knock out rounds?

Brazil World Cup 2014 has entered business session. There is no scope and wait for things to happen. 

Teams willing to go deeper have to make things happen changing gears through pushing harder on the paddle. Champion potential team must start peaking bow or never. 

Some favorites in the preliminary round were not looking impressive. Possibly they were taking a bit easy preserving their best for the right occasion. But in knock out there will be no second chance. Complacency or relaxing a bit will cause damage. 

The team will get knocked out. The e pre-quarter line ups look the following.

Brazil Vs Chile, Mexico vs Holland, Colombia vs Uruguay, Costa Rica vs Greece, France vs Nigeria, Argentina vs Switzerland, Germany vs Algeria and Belgium vs USA.

Four teams were rated top favorites in the pretournament previews by soccer analysts and experts. 

They were Brazil and Argentina from South America and reigning Champions Spain and European Power House Germany from Europe. Some analysts also brought France, Netherlands and Italy into discussions as well. 

One of the top favorite Spain already returned home from the first round failing to produce their free flowing total football which earned them FIFA top ranking and all major crowns that came their way over the last 6 years. 

Another favorite Italy also departed. The reaming three top favorites Brazil, Argentina and Germany are very much alive. The structure of this year’s world is such that all three have opportunity to proceed to semifinal along with Netherlands. Off course teams like Colombia, France and Belgium may throw big challenge along the way. Let us try to preview the match on the first day of the knock out round.

Brazil –Chile Match: 

Brazil would have preferred to play other than South American teams at this stage as in their own continent Brazil feels more comfortable playing teams from other continent. 

The Chilean side has few talented youngsters and some matured professionals who can provide tough time to Brazil. Barcelona boy Alexi Sanchez is the falir player for “La Roja” upfront. Charles Aranguez, Charles Carmona, Mathias Ferdendaz, Jorge Valdivia and David Pizzaro have also played their part in qualifying from a very difficult group having World Champions Spain, runners up Netherlands and strong performer Australia. Coach Jorge Sampadoli is more flexible than many. 

He can switch intelligently to suit circumstances among 4-2-2-2, 4-3-2-1 or a 3-4-1-2. The focus of the team is high intensity pressurizing of the opposition when they have the ball, as high up the pitch as possible. Once possession is turned over, Chile will flood forward using speed and precision passing to overwhelm the opposition. 

Chile will definitely produce high-energy; thrilling brand of football which if executed properly can cause few issues for Brazilian defence. Playing this type of aggressive football Chile hustled bustled Socceroos in their first match of the group shooting into 2-0 lead early on. 

But when Australia regrouped and counter attacked Chilean defence looked vulnerable. In the second half of the match Chile huffed and buffed in containing a very Impressive Australian team. They had to play out of their skin to stave off Socceroo’s Challenge 3-1. The score line does not reflect the still completion that the match witnessed. 

However, Chile looked very impressive in drowning Spain 2-0 in their second match but again their defence cracked again to fast moving counter attacks losing the match 0-2.

All-time favorite and host Brazil’s mission Hexa with a new generation of talented players is so far on a roll. Perhaps still on first gear Brazil looked like Champion potential in the third group match against Cameroon in their 4-1 victory. In their first match against strong Croatia the Selecaos looked little rusty. 

Even in that state Brazil won 3-1. Though they drew 1-1 with Mexico Brazil was never in danger of losing the match. The seasoned Boss Filip Scolari has definite reasons not going for Kaka, Ronaldinho and relying mostly on the nucleus of the team that brought Brazil the Confederation Cup. 

Brazil has scored 7 goals in three matches which could be even more if Mexican Goal keeper did not make few spectacular saves against them. Off the 7 Brazils dream boy Neymar alone scored 4, Fred and Oscar also contributed one each. Brazil has this concern if Neymar fail to score who will do that. But the skills that Neymar has already shown he will definitely score finding space in Chilean defence. 

Oscar, Fred and Hulk are also expected to step up. Neymar with his unassuming style looked like a silent killer always lurking like hungry wolf around opposition danger territory. Brazil has conceded 2 goals in three matches. 

The first one, the first in the world cup was own goal which otherwise very reliable Marcello conceded. The other goal Cameroon scored when Brazil went on all-out attack. Defence looks very solid with reliable Cesar under the bar and Dany Alvez, David Luis, Marcelo and Thiago Silva making it almost impregnable fort. 

Brazil mid field requires playing most positive and imaginative football allowing Neymar and Fred more freedom upfront. Here Scolari is possibly missing Kaka and Ronaldinho type creators. Paulinho so far failed to impress, Ramires and Gustavo are doing lot of running and Oscar has just showing signs of coming to his own. Brazil will have to attack more pushing Chileans in their territory as much as possible. 

Chile will definitely attack more than any other team against Brazil. That will present Neymar and co more freedom to find space and operate with freedom .We predicts a 3-1 victory of Brazil in the match.

Netherlands –Mexico:

Netherlands in my opinion is the team of the tournament so far. Netherlands is the only side in the world stage which has so far failed to win the world despite playing wonderful football for over three decade. 

Three times they were bridesmaid including the last time when they lost to Spain through an injury time goal after Spanish goal keeper Iker Casillas saved two Robben efforts. In the very first match Netherlands this time Netherlands outclassed, outwitted, embarrassed, humiliated Spain paying them back on their own coin. 

Their 5-1 very impressive win must have impressed the Dutch Legend Johan Cruyff. The present team posses three truly world class goal getter -two tried and tested Veterans Robin Van Persie & Arjen Robben and Young energetic Sneijder. 

Along with Germany Netherlands is the most dangerous team in counter attack. Some quality Youngsters like Jonathan Guzman and Jeremain Lens have also impressed. 

Though Dutch had little difficulty against impressive Australia in the second match yet they managed to beat them 3-2 and got the better of Chile in 2-0 victory. 

They have scored maximum numbers of goals (10) so far. They conceded 3 goals of them 2 came through penalties. This Dutch team looks like capable of going deep and may even win the cup. Writing off the orange may not be a smart idea unless they die their own death.

Mexico is a steady performer. They are the most successful team over the years in the CONACAF region. The boss Miguel Herrera is a superb tactician with a hot head. The Mexicans are sometimes of Group Stage specialists, having advanced in each of their past six world cup appearance. 

That said they also not progressed past 16 since 1986. This time they are up against a very formidable Netherlands team. They managed to beat Indomitable African Lion Cameroon in the first match 1-0 and defended doggedly against Brazil earning a 0-0 draw. 

Mexicans were most impressive against Croatia in the last group match knocking them out with 3-1 margin. We are sure Mexicans will not surrender any game without providing their best. 

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa will have to repeat his sterling performance that he had against Brazil. Midfileder Guadardo and defender Rafa Marquez will require to deliver. 

The versatility of Carlos Salcido will keep Mexico in the contest. Orbie Peralta and Giovani dos Santos have so far impressed in the attack. Perhaps getting past the group phase was definitely an achievement. We do not consider Mexico has the quality and class for beating Netherlands in sparkling form. 

It will be extremely difficult to keep class strikers Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben at bay. We predict a 2-0 win for Netherlands.

Strange things do happen and has happened in this world cup. Underdogs on their day may turn the table around. After all teams have to deliver on the day and in the field.

BDST: 0840 HRS, JUN 28, 2014

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