This Friday marks the beginning of the Elite Eight in the World Cup. The schedule follows the normal mid-morning and mid-afternoon game. EJSIC is here for a quick preview of each of Friday’s games.
Netherlands v Brazil
Friday, 10 am EST, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Results to date:
Netherlands – W 2-0 v Denmark, W 1-0 v Japan, W 2-1 v Cameroon, W 2-1 v Slovakia
Brazil – W 2-1 v North Korea, W 3-1 v Ivory Coast, D 0-0 v Portugal, W 3-0 v Chile
Analysis: Holland is one of two teams to be perfect so far (the other is Argentina), but they now face their toughest test in five-time champion Brazil. If the Netherlands wants to shake the stigma of “best country to never win a World Cup,” they’ll have to beat the best ever.
Brazil has transformed its play under former player turned manager Dunga. Their defense-first mentality has led to a disappearance of the Joga Bonita football fans grew accustomed to. However, the flashy play is still their at times and their offensive attack is as deadly as ever.
Holland also boasts their own unique brand of football referred to as Total Football. Holland has traditionally put more emphasis on offense in comparison to their European rivals.
So when these two teams meet Friday, something has to give. Will Total Football withstand Dunga’s raw mentality or will the Brazilian superstars do as always and win?
Prediction: Brazil 3-2
Uruguay v Ghana
Friday, 2:30 PM EST, Soccer City Stadium
Results to date:
Uruguay – D 0-0 v France, W 3-0 v South Africa, W 1-0 v Mexico, W 2-1 v South Korea
Ghana – W 1-0 v Serbia, D 1-1 v Australia, L 1-0 v Germany, W 2-1 v United States
Analysis: Uruguay has been a surprise of the World Cup. They dominated Group A and did not allow a single goal. If we’ve learned anything from South Africa 2010, it is that South American teams have been the class of the field.
On the other side is Ghana, the last African team alive in the first African World Cup. They’re not only playing for their country, but for the entire continent. Of the two teams, Ghana has looked more suspect, but their talent is undeniable.
Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez have scored five of the six Uruguay goals while Asamoah Gyan has added three of his own for Ghana.
Both teams have played well defensively to date with some theatrics for needed goals. Which team will come through this time?
Prediction: Ghana 2-1 (extra time).
Be on the lookout for an EJSIC Live Blog for the Brazil v Netherlands game and possibly one for Uruguay v Ghana.
If you, the loyal reader, were paying attention the last two weeks, and hopefully you were, then you would have noticed our on-going effort to preview the group stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. With groups A through D now in our rear view mirror, we turn to group E. Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, and Cameroon comprise it and bring to the table some exciting football as well.
If you would like to read earlier previews you may have missed, or just loved it so much you’d like to read it again, then click the appropriate link below.
World Rank: 4
All-time Record: 16-10-10 (W-D-L)
Matches: 6/14 vs Denmark, 6/19 vs Japan, 6/24 vs Cameroon
Analysis: Netherlands are coming off a perfect effort in UEFA qualifying: 8 matches, 8 wins. The Dutch have been building themselves into a world football power over the last decade, but have yet to bring home the trophy after early finished in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2008 EURO tournament. However, they still remained focus on achieving the ultimate goal of sports: a championship. Netherlands are the favorite in Group E, but they will still be challenged.
World Rank: 19
All-time Record: 4-7-6
Matches: 6/14 vs Japan, 6/19 vs Denmark, 6/24 vs Netherlands
Analysis: Cameroon is one of the most successful teams on the African continent, and they are looking to continue that tradition of power during the first World Cup to be held on African soil. They had a solid qualifying effort lead by their accurate striker, Samuel Eto’o. Eto’o possesses world class speed which makes the transition from defense to offense both devastating and quick for Cameroon.
World Rank: 35
All-time Record: 7-2-4
Matches: 6/14 vs Netherlands, 6/19 vs Cameroon, 6/24 vs Japan
Analysis: Denmark is considered to be in the middle tier when it comes to European football, a very top heavy group. But do not let their current world rank fool you. Denmark finished first in its qualifying bracket, ahead of the likes of Portugal and Sweden. Denmark is also hungry after missing out on the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 EURO. Look for the newly stable team to perform well in 2010, even if they do not advance.
World Rank: 45
All-time Record: 2-2-6
Matches: 6/14 vs Cameroon, 6/19 vs Netherlands, 6/24 vs Denmark
Analysis: Japan has ascended to the role of Asian superpower, and are now looking to take the next step: world superpower. Japan had a good showing in the last World Cup. Their team also seems to have that confidence. They’ve gained some experience by sending young, talented players to play in the European leagues and it has only proved to be beneficial. Japan has a tough task in advancing from this group, but the Samurai Blue are confident in their abilities.
Group Winner: Netherlands
Group Runner-up: Cameroon
Match to Watch: Netherlands vs Cameroon. Both teams enter the group stage expecting to advancing and rightfully so. Their main concern is who finishes first and who finishes second. The winner of the group will face the second-place team from group F while the runner-up will have to face the winner of that group, which is likely to be the defending champions, Italy. As the last game for each team, it could set up for a very interesting match.
Players to Watch: Arjen Robben (NED), Dirk Kuyt (NED), Nicklas Bendtner (DEN), Jon Dahl Tomasson (DEN), Shunsuke Nakamura (JPN), Keisuke Honda (JPN), Samuel Eto’o (CMR), Jean II Makoun (CMR), Alexandre Song (CMR)
Full schedule can be found here.