A full day of teams playing their second game. An absolutely huge day for a couple of teams.
We start the day with the last of Group A:
Game18 Ecuador vs. Costa Rica. a lot of folks figured Ecuador wouldn't have a chance against Poland, and I was one of them. They were the better of the two sides, and they go into this game knowing that if they win, they are through to the next round, guaranteed. Obviously, a huge game for them. Costa Rica knows that if they win, they still have a chance to advance. These two teams know that 2nd place is wide open thanks to Poland shitting where they sleep.
Ecuador definitely looked better against Poland than Costa Rica did against Germany, but it now seems clear that Poland was playing with their heads up their asses tactically, and Germany has improved (note the total absence of the off-sides trap today). Still Ecuador is the more talented of these teams. Costa Rica's strength is Paulo Wanchope, and Ecuador's strength is central defense. This is a strength against strength match up. Should be great fun. One of these teams is going to the quarterfinals.
The other two games are the teams from Group B. Which, if you'll remember, led me to decry England and Sweden and reference Japanese movie monster Gamera.
Prediction: Hard fought game, perhaps game of the day. Ecuador 2, Costa Rica 1.
Game 19: England vs. Trinidad & Tobago
This should be England's game to win. Trinidad and Tobago were expecting to get outscored 10-0 in this tournament. They are nowhere near that, but they will be without Folk Hero Stern John's brother, the considerably less cooler named Avery John. Thin team already is thinner, and England needs this game, not just the points, but to show that they still remember how to play the fucking game.
Prediction: England 3, T&T 1
Game 20: Sweden vs. Paraguay
Sweden was much better than their nil-nil result in their first game. They will score in this game, and they may score early and often. They need this game, Paraguay has to be already half packed for the trip home. Sweden needs to punish them, and climb up the goal differential ladder.
They are so superior to this team, and needs the points so bad, the only risk is that they over commit to the attack. But they don't really need too much help to generate offense.
Prediction: Sweden 3, Paraguay 0