We’re down to the last two groups before the Round of 16. Top-ranked Brazil are finally meeting their colonial masters, while Ivory Coast look to salvage some African pride, a la Ghana. Meanwhile, early favourites Spain are struggling against one more South American juggernaut.
Brazil: 6 pts., +3 GD, 5 GS
Portugal: 4 pts., +7 GD, 7 GS
Ivory Coast: 1 pt., -2 GD, 1 GS
North Korea: 0 pts., -8 GD, 1 GS
Brazil is already in. But they’ll need a win or a draw to secure top spot in the group.
Portugal is almost guaranteed to qualify, needing either a win or a draw. But if they lose, they can still get in, as long as they don’t lose their shirts to Brazil. That — or Ivory Coast runs up the goals on North Korea like Das Quinas did in their game against the Asian team.
Ivory Coast needs to win and they need to win big. There is a nine-goal difference between The Elephants and Portugal, which they would need to make up. Of course, that’s assuming Portugal loses.
North Korea are out.
Prediction: Brazil will beat Portugal in a close match. Ivory Coast will beat North Korea, but it won’t be enough. Brazil wins the group, Portugal follows.
Chile: 6 pts., +2 GD, 2 GS
Spain: 3 pts., +1 GD, 2 GS
Switzerland: 3 pts., 0 GD, 1 GS
Honduras: 0 pts., -3 GD, 0 GS
Chile gets through with a win or a draw. If they lose, they need Switzerland to draw or tie. If Switzerland wins (and Chile loses), then the Chileans have to hope the Swiss don’t make up the two-goal difference.
Spain’s situation is a bit more complicated. A win is almost necessary for the European champions. But even with a win, they have to hope the Swiss don’t come out on top is well. The Spaniards’ only hope is a single goal: they lead the Swiss by one in goal difference and goals scored.
Spain can also go through on a draw, or even a loss, but they have to hope the Swiss do the same.
Not to dismiss Honduras either. They could sneak in with a massive win against the Swiss, and a Spanish loss. But the Swiss defence is like a Zurich bank account: no names and tough to crack.
Predictions: Spain are reliving their old ways as chokers. They may have a tough time against an aggressive Chilean team. Meanwhile, the Swiss will likely stick to their conservative game plan against Honduras. Spain draws Chile. Switzerland beats Honduras by a goal. Chile wins the group, Switzerland advances, leaving early favourites Spain to join France and Italy.
Tuesday Games: Brazil vs. Switzerland, Chile vs. Portugal