Predictions: First round of quarter-finals
Here's a look at the matchups for the first round of World Cup quarter-finals, which get underway Friday July 2.
Brazil vs. Netherlands, 10 a.m. ET, Port Elizabeth
Thus far, the most anticipated games here – Germany/England; Spain/Portugal – haven’t provided much pop. Two cagey and deeply accomplished world sides meet in what could easily be a final. Both sides have looked purposeful, rather than free-flowing, and they’ve reaped the benefits of that. Let’s hope that result-oriented football hits a wall today. What this one needs is a goal in the first 15 minutes to open things up. If that happens, we’re looking at a classic.
C.K.: Netherlands 3, Brazil 2 (after extra time)
C.Y.: Brazil 1, Netherlands 0
Ghana vs. Uruguay, 2:30 p.m. ET, Johannesburg – Ellis Park
Africa’s team vs. South America’s new outsider crush. While many big names came here to stand around and not be counted, these two relative minnows arrived bursting with energy. Uruguay feature the tournament’s best strike pairing – Diego Forland and Luis Suarez. Ghana count on an all-action midfield to control the attack. Provided neither side seizes up under the pressure, there’s little to separate them. But Ghana now have a whole continent – and Nelson Mandela – willing them forward. That’s a formidable obstacle.
C.K.: Ghana 2, Uruguay 0
C.Y.: Ghana 1, Uruguay 1 (Ghana win on penalties)