Our second FIFA World Cup 2014 Preview, from blog editor Simon Hill:
Brazil have little in the way of competition and the fired up hosts will blast Croatia off the pitch 3-0 while Mexico will edge Cameroon 1-0. The Brazilians will beat Mexico in a tighter game 2-1 while Cameroon and Croatia play to a 1-1 draw. The hosts then make it a 3 for 3 by easily disposing of Cameroon 2-0. Finally Mexico will book themselves a somewhat surprising Round of 16 spot by beating the wilting Croatians 1-0.
Brazil (3-0-0; +6; 9pts)
Mexico (2-0-1; +1; 6pts)
Cameroon (0-1-2; -3; 1pt)
Croatia (0-1-2; -4; 1pt)
Spain comes out on top of a testy, foul-filled duel with the Netherlands 2-1, while Chile edges Australia 1-0. The Dutch bounce back and thump the Aussies 2-0 while the Spaniards take down Chile 2-1 in a tight match. Spain keeps its unbeaten record by thumping Australia 3-0 before Chilean hearts are broken by the Dutch with a 2-2 draw and the Netherlands advancing on goal difference.
Spain (3-0-0; +5; 9pts)
Netherlands (1-1-1; +1; 4pts)
Chile (1-1-1; 0; 4pts)
Australia (0-0-3; 0pt)
Colombia takes the points with a close 1-0 win over Greece while Cote d’Ivoire and Japan have a shootout ending in a 2-2 draw. The Colombians then edge the Ivorians 3-2 in one of the more entertaining games of the tournament; Japan then plays to another draw 1-1 with the defensive Greeks. The Japanese then make it through with a 2-2 draw against group winners Colombia but Cote d’Ivoire goes home along with Greece after a 1-1 draw.
Colombia (2-1-0; +3; 7pts)
Japan (0-3-0; 0; 3pts)
Cote d’Ivoire (0-2-1; -1; 2pts)
Greece (0-2-1; -1; 2pts)
Uruguay blasts Costa Rica 3-0 before England and Italy play to an ugly 0-0 draw. The Uruguayans top England 2-1 while the Italians easily dispose of Costa Rica 2-0. Finally, Italy books a place in the next round with a 1-1 draw with group winners Uruguay, while England beat Costa Rica 2-1 but still go home.
Uruguay (2-1-0; +4; 7pts)
Italy (1-2-0; +2; 5pts)
England (1-1-1; 0; 4pts)
Costa Rica (0-0-3; -6; 0pt)
Switzerland and Ecuador start the group play with a 0-0 draw before France edges a game Honduras 1-0. The Swiss defence again holds as they again draw 0-0 with France, while Ecuador beats Honduras 2-1 in a fun game to watch. Switzerland finally gets on the scoreboard (and into the next round) with a 1-0 win over Honduras, while the French take the group with a 2-1 win over Ecuador.
France (2-1-0; +2; 7pts)
Switzerland (1-2-0; +1; 5pts)
Ecuador (1-1-1; 0; 4pts)
Honduras (0-0-3; -3; 0pt)
Argentina comes out of the gate strong with a 2-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina before Nigeria downs Iran 2-0. The Argentinians crush the Iranians 3-0 while Nigeria tops Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0. Argentina then cruises by Nigeria 2-0 while the plucky Iranians hold Bosnia to a 1-1 draw.
Argentina (3-0-0; +7; 9pts)
Nigeria (2-0-1; +1; 6pts)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (0-1-2;-3; 1pt)
Iran (0-1-2; -5; 1pt)
In one of the most highly anticipated games of the tournament Germany edges Portugal 2-1, while Ghana one again breaks American hearts with a 1-0 win. Germany then edges Ghana 1-0 while the USA plays its best game holding Portugal 1-1. In the final games, Germany are too much for the USA and win 2-1 while Portugal go through with a 2-0 win over Ghana.
Germany (3-0-0; +3; 9pts)
Portugal (1-1-1; +1; 4pts)
Ghana (1-0-2; -2; 3pts)
USA (0-1-2; -2; 1pt)
Belgium hold a game Algeria at bay for a 1-0 win before Russia ties South Korea 1-1. The Belgians again keep a clean sheet with a 1-0 win over Russia while Algeria and South Korea play to an entertaining 2-2 draw. The South Koreans worry the Belgians before going down 2-1 before Algeria stuns Russia 1-0 to go through.
Belgium (3-0-0; +3; 9pts)
Algeria (1-1-1; 0; 4pts)
South Korea (0-2-1; -1; 2pts)
Russia (0-1-2; -2; 1pt)
ROUND OF 16
In an enthralling game, hosts Brazil take down the Netherlands 2-1, while Spain easily dispatches Mexico 2-0.
Italy makes hard work of beating Colombia 1-0 while Uruguay have no problems beating Japan 3-1.
France tops Nigeria 2-1 before Argentina sends Switzerland home 2-0.
Germany thrashes Algeria 3-0 before Portugal upends Belgium 2-1.
Brazil marches on with a 2-1 win over Italy.
Spain ends Uruguay’s dreams 1-0 after extra time – or even penalties.
Germany has no problems beating France 2-0.
Argentina cruises by Portugal 2-0.
Brazil takes down Germany 3-2 in the match of the tournament before things get ugly as Argentina beats Spain 2-1 to setup an all-South American final.
Destiny is calling…and Argentina is there to break the collective Brazilian hearts with a last minute winner for a 2-1 victory.