Some knockout predictions

By CHRIS ZIEMER

(Editor’s note: Chris Ziemer, Sonoma Academy athletic director and head girls soccer coach, is blogging for The Press Democrat at the World Cup in South Africa).

June 26, 2010 (11:50 a.m. – prior to start of knockout-round games:

DURBAN, South Africa –

My knockout round predictions…

I haven’t seen all of the teams live, but have caught enough of the games to at least have an opinion on every team.

Uruguay vs South Korea – I like Uruguay but was impressed with South Korea’s play so I will go with South Korea.

United States vs Ghana – even if I didn’t think the US would win, I would pick them.  And, I do believe.  USA, USA.

Germany vs England – Due to my connection to Germany, I want Germany to win, but after their opening win they failed to inspire.  England, well, they are do for a quality performance.  My heart says Germany, but I think England will prevail as Capello’s boys will rally.

Argentina vs Mexico – A Mexico win would be great, but the World Cup needs the energy of Maradona, Messi and co.  Argentina will move on.

Netherlands vs Slovakia – Unlike previous events, Netherlands has saved something for the knockout rounds.  Slovakia still in shock from Italy win and will head home.
Brazil vs Chile – this game will be a classic as both teams know each other so well.  I made my way into the Brazil hotel last night and the feeling in the camp is they need to win otherwise they won’t be allowed into the country.  Brazil was poor against Portugal and will respond vs Chile with a win.

Paraguay vs Japan – I like Paraguay in this one.  They have impressed me thus far and they are tested from their South American qualification play.

Spain vs Portugal – Along with Germany vs England, it is the coveted matchup.  I hope Spain punishes Portugal for a lackluster game against Brazil.  Spain will build against Ronaldo’s no pressure and win by at least two goals.