After an exciting, weird, and sometimes disappointing group round, the knockout round of the 2018 World Cup in Russia begins tomorrow. Following up on my picks for group play, here are my picks for the knockout rounds of the tournament. Remember these are more wishes of what I’d like to see happen than predictions of what will actually happen. I tend to favor the underdog, so these things are not likely to pass.
Let me know who you think will win this year’s World Cup trophy, and who you want to win it most (if that’s different) in the comments!
ROUND OF 16
June 30 – Uruguay vs. Portugal
I’m kind of partial to both sides, but I’ll lean toward Portugal since they’ve never won a title.
EDITED 7/3: It’s Uruguay, I’m ok with that.
June 30 – France vs. Argentina
Seems kind of early for a matchup of these powerhouses, and I like both of them, but I’ll go for Argentina for Messi’s sake.
EDITED 7/3: Messi needs better teammates.
July 1 – Spain vs. Russia
It will be nice to see a classy side like Spain bounce the hosts out of the tournament.
EDITED 7/3: This was a huge shocker!
July 1 – Croatia vs. Denmark
Hmm…no strong feelings on either team and neither are really a powerhouse nor an underdog. I guess I’ll go with Denmark since Copenhagen is such a great city for biking, but if anyone has a good argument for Croatia, let me hear it.
EDITED 7/3: Well, Croatia has been the surprise of the tournament so good for them.
July 2 – Belgium vs. Japan
I’ll be pulling for Japan here as the last surviving representative of Asia. Sadly there will be no one from Africa to root for as well.
EDITED 7/3: Hah, I forgot I picked Japan and was actually rooting for Belgium while I was watching it. What an exciting game for both sides! Belgium is my favorite surviving side from Europe.
July 2 – Brazil vs. Mexico
No offense to Brazil, but I’m pulling for our neighbors to the south, and based on what I saw in group play, I think that they could pull it off.
EDITED 7/3: The result here was not surprising. Brazil seems to have the best chance of a non-European side winning the Cup, but they’re not new and exciting either.
July 3 – Sweden vs. Switzerland
Hmm…another match that doesn’t promise to be exciting, but I’ve enjoyed Sweden’s play thus far.
EDITED 7/3: Well, bully for Sweden.
July 3 – Colombia vs. England
Colombia all the way! Perhaps one of the most fun teams to watch and a South American underdog who’ve been bubbling under for some time. And what better team to user England out the door?
EDITED 7/3: The team I most wanted to win lost to the the team I most wanted to lose. What a bummer!
July 6 – QF #1:
Portugal vs. Argentina
Every tv station in the world is rooting for Ronaldo vs. Messi. I expect that if Argentina makes it this far, Messi won’t be able to carry the team any further, and Portugal will get a deserved win. Doesn’t necessarily mean that Ronaldo is better, although that is the conclusion every sports pundit will make.
EDITED 7/3: Uruguay vs. France
Leaning toward Uruguay, but like elements of each side.
July 6 – QF #2:
Mexico vs. Japan
Sticking with Mexico here.
EDITED 7/3: Brazil vs. Belgium
Cheering for fancy beers and peeing boys.
July 7 – QF #3:
Spain vs. Denmark
Spain will win this, although I’ll root for Denmark to be the final surviving Scandanivian side.
EDITED 7/3: Sweden vs. England
Lets go Sweden! <clap, clap, clapclapclap>
July 7 – QF #4:
Sweden vs. Colombia
Colombia may my favorite remaining team, so this is easy.
EDITED 7/3: Russia vs. Croatia
Croatians must have some score to settle with the former Soviet Union, right?
July 10 – SF #1:
Portugal vs. Mexico
This would be an interesting, albeit unlikely, matchup. I’ll give Portugal the nod.
EDITED 7/3: Uruguay vs. Belgium
Should probably go with Uruguay as the last non-European side in this scenario, but I’m really liking Belgium.
July 11 – SF #2:
Denmark vs. Colombia
Still with Colombia.
EDITED 7/3: Croatia vs. Sweden
Keep the Croatian win streak going
July 14 –
Mexico vs. Denmark
El Tri for Third Place!
EDITED 7/3: Uruguay vs. Sweden
Uruguay gets the bronze.
July 15 –
Portugal vs. Colombia
Colombia all the way!
EDITED 7/3: Belgium vs. Croatia
The biggest victory since Waterloo!
After writing this out, I know how ridiculous this all looks, but hey, if it actually happens…