Predictions: Day 10
Paraguay stymied Italy in a famous first game draw. A win here puts it in excellent position to top Group F and avoid Netherlands in the Round of 16. The Slovaks will be kicking themselves for giving up an injury-time equalizer to New Zealand. That letdown shows the inexperience of the European debutants, while Paraguay should continue South America’s excellent run here in Africa.
Prediction: Paraguay 2, Slovakia 1
Italy (0-1-0) vs. New Zealand (0-1-0), 10 a.m. ET
New Zealand was supposed to be the palate cleanser of this tournament, washing the first round out of the mouths of better teams before the real meal in the knockout rounds. But the club surprised in its first game, earning a draw with Slovakia. Italy has been busy tearing itself apart after a turgid first effort against Paraguay. With respect to the Kiwis, here’s the cure for what ails them.
Prediction: Italy 2, New Zealand 0
Brazil (1-0-0) vs. Ivory Coast (0-1-0), 2:30 p.m. ET
First glamour match from the Group of Death may feature Didier Drogba and his broken elbow from the beginning. Africa’s best hope looked sluggish in the opener against Portugal. The Brazilians, playing in frigid cold, managed expectations and the ball against a manly North Korean side. Look for the Brazilian class to show here against a team forced to move forward.
Prediction: Brazil 3, Ivory Coast 1