2014 World Cup Finals predictions

From the start I’ve been predicting a final with Germany and the Netherlands, and I’ve got to say I was terribly disappointed by the Dutch performance in the semifinals game against Argentina.

Germany and Argentina make it to the final. Germany will win.

Germany and Argentina make it to the final. Germany will win.

Vlaar was so good in defending Messi, but in the attack Robben was ineffective and Robin van Persie was asleep offsides.

Both defenses played a strong game, resulting in no goals scored in 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time.

I was not surprised that Germany beat Brazil. I’ve felt all through the tournament that Brazil wasn’t playing that well. I never saw a 7-1 defeat, though. I thought maybe 3-0. Even with Neymar and Thiago Silva, I don’t think Brazil would have performed much better against the Germans.

So that gives us Germany and Argentina in the final and Brazil and the Netherlands playing for third place.

Brazil v. Netherlands

I’ve thought since the group stage that Brazil was not performing well in this World Cup. They’ve been lucky in some instances. Neymar carried them in others. For all the talent and passion Brazil had coming into each game, the passion seemed to carry them through while the talent let them down.

Oscar seems reluctant to take the lead on the field. Neymar is an individual threat, but without him a defense playing against Brazil is able to relax a little.

The Netherlands are the most successful country to never win a World Cup. Playing for third place means something to them. Meanwhile, for the Brazilians who have allowed emotion to overcome them, I think if they give up the first goal they will lose, possibly significantly. The Dutch may well win this thing 4-0 and send Brazil back to the drawing board.

Germany v. Argentina

I’ve been as disappointed in Argentina as I have Brazil. I have seen them possibly going out at any point in the knockout stages. But Argentina has proved me wrong each time. In every match, they’ve not been good but they’ve been good enough. Probably the best game they played was against the Netherlands.

Germany, meanwhile, have only a couple of times really played like you would expect them to, but after playing like you would expect them to against Brazil and winning 7-1, I have to think they will come into the final firing on all cylinders.

Expect a strong German team. Expect the same kind of Germany that played against Brazil.

I see Germany winning 2-0, maybe more. Because Messi is on the field, you might have to expect him to score or create a goal, so maybe it’s 3-1 to Germany. Anyway, I don’t believe Argentina will win this game.

2014 World Cup goes to Germany.

World Cup 2014 semifinals predictions

I only missed one game in the quarterfinals. I saw Belgium beating Argentina. I still think Belgium should have won that game.

That kid from the Simpsons did a great job of coming in for the PKs in the Holland v. Costa Rica game (is it just me or does Tim Krul look just like Nelson Muntz?).

That kid from the Simpsons did a great job of coming in for the PKs in the Holland v. Costa Rica game (is it just me or does Tim Krul look just like Nelson Muntz?).

But I was correct about the Brazil v. Colombia game – don’t miss it! The ref has deservedly received a lot of criticism for not pulling cards in the first half and letting so many poor tackles go, but I really enjoyed watching this game. It was wide open and just a lot of fun. That’s tough on Neymar to have such a bad injury and miss the rest of the tournament, but the reports so far are that he will make a full recovery, and we should all be glad about that. Neymar is a young kid with amazing skill, and whether you’re a fan or not, it would be tragic to see all that promise come to an end because of a poor challenge.

So here are my semifinal predictions:

Germany v. Brazil (7/8 4 p.m. est)

Neymar is injured and Thiago Silva is suspended from the game based on two yellow cards. Brazil has found a way through so far, and maybe the momentum gained from playing the World Cup at home is all it takes to push Brazil through to the final.

I don’t think so.

In my initial bracket I had Brazil going out in the Round of 16. I didn’t see them getting past Chile because, I think, Brazil have played poorly. To get past Chile, Brazil had to take it to penalty kicks, and there, all bets are off. Anything can happen in a PK shootout, and what happened in that PK shootout was Julio Ceasar came off his line and blocked a shot.

I expected Brazil to beat Colombia because Colombia had not had a rough path to the quarterfinals.

Now Brazil will play the toughest opponent they’ve faced so far, and they’ll do it without their goal scorer Neymar and their captain Silva.

Even with Neymar and Silva, I would not expect Brazil to advance past Germany.

Germany have been good throughout the World Cup. They haven’t been great in most of their matches, but they have been steady and composed. They have done enough.

Expect Germany to have a stellar performance.

The Germans took third place in 2006 and 2010. Do not expect them to settle for playing for third place again. This is a very, very good team. They will score goals. They will defend like a solid wall.

It will be a good game (we’re talking about the semifinals of the World Cup). Brazil and Germany play very different styles of soccer, and it will be fun to watch the disciplined Germans against the creative Brazilians, but ultimately I see Germany going on to the final and Brazil playing Argentina for third place.

Holland vs. Argentina (7/9 4 p.m. est)

The other semifinal match is just like the first. The disciplined Dutch against the creative South Americans. But you saw this match up when the Netherlands played Costa Rica. The Costa Ricans never had anything in the game. Possession, shots – it all went to the Dutch.

Granted, Costa Rica defended well and played Holland to a draw and the game had to be decided by penalty kicks, but you’ve got to believe with three shots off the post and one curling off a defender the Dutch were unlucky not to finish that game in regulation time.

You also saw a preview of this match when Argentina played Belgium. Argentina bested Belgium by a goal, but Belgium was never out of the game.

The Netherlands must finish better than they have been. They won’t be able to waste opportunities, and a one-goal advantage will never be enough until the referee blows the final whistle because Messi is always a threat.

But I predicted a Germany-Netherlands final for World Cup 2014, and I have seen nothing to make me back off of that.

The Americas have been very good in this World Cup. Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, the United States – all underdog nations that performed better than expected and went father than expected.

Brazil and Argentina, though certainly not underdogs, went farther than I thought they would go. I never felt that Brazil was playing up to their level of talent, but they have managed to find a way through at each point, and that’s all that matters. Argentina must be grateful for Messi.

But I fully expect to see a European final again this year.