France’s leading midfield players: Zidane, Makelele and Vierra have a great understanding of one another’s game and the experience that comes from playing together for so long. For example, Zidane and Vierra always know where one another are going to be on the pitch at any given time. Throw in the youth, and speed of Ribbery and you have a side peaking at the right time. That showed in the win against Spain and that’ll probably show again against a Brazilian side that doesn’t play a team game. I like France’s chances to beat Brazil.
Deco is suspended for Portugal’s Quarterfinal versus England which gives England an outside shot. Most pundits seem to think that this will be most one sided quarterfinal with the Portuguese running England off the pitch. I somewhat I agree with this thinking, but keep in mind England, not Portugal (or Brazil) has the most talent of any nation playing in this World Cup, and perhaps they can once and for all get on the same page. But as so often is the case with the English their side looks disjointed while team play and discipline is totally lacking.
Germany-Argentina should be the best matchup of the tournament. Look for the Germans to press the attack early and get Michael Ballack some early critical touches on the ball. Germany, at home will win.
Italy is playing very shaky soccer but Ukraine has a problem scoring goals. Ukraine has scored a goal in the run of play in only one of their four World Cup games thus far. However, the Ukraine is organized and well spaced at the back and against an Italian attack that has been shaky in situations with clear advantages in this tournament that might be enough to ensure passage for the Ukraine.
Eric Wynalda’s attacks on Bruce Arena have been relentless but on the money. Arena’s unwillingness to take any blame whatsoever in his interview with Rece Davis the other day was appalling and is further reason why he needs to be moved out as national team coach. If a manager is unwilling to assess his performance somewhat objectively that smacks of poor leadership and a lack of class.