Game 27: Japan vs. Croatia. Japan got their hearts broken in their first game vs. Australia. Croatia played great against Brazil, and still lost. If either team is going to advance, a win here is critical. Japan looked OK against Australia, but not especially dangerous. I think they will find themselves in trouble against Croatia, which has assembled an awful lot of talent that most people don't know well, aside from maybe Marko Babic of Bayer Leverkusen. I think the score will not reflect the extent that Croatia dominates this game.
Prediction: Japan 0, Croatia 2
Game 28: Brazil vs. Australia. Well, let's see Tim Cahill avoid a sending off if he brings down Adriano down in the box. To me, Cahill shouldn't even be allowed to play in this game, as he shoudl have received his second yellow against Japan (before he scored any of his goals, by teh by). But he'll play, and as good as Australia may have felt, they are in no way in any league with these guys. Question is, will big fat Ronaldo make another appearance, or will Brazil start someone else in "The Quartet". Perhaps Robinho gets a start?
Predction: Brazil 3, Australia 0
Game 29: France vs. South Korea France has looked like old ass, and I don't see that changing against a very fit, run you into ground South Korea. South Korea's got Seoul, baby. I apologze for that pun. Deepest regrets, all that, yeah? I really don't know if France can run with the SK's for a full 90 minutes. Their best chance is to score early, and then conserve energy as best they can.
And hey, the South Koreans agree with me:
Tottenham Hotspur’s Lee Young-Pyo, meanwhile, believes the Koreans’ legendary stamina will be the key factor. "France are a battle-hardened and vastly experienced side," he said. "But as the minutes tick by, the more our superior physical strength will take control of the game.”
Ahn Jung-Hwan, scorer of the East Asians’ second goal against Togo and recipient of the Budweiser Man of the Match award, agreed with his team-mate. “The reason so many goals are coming late on the second half this World Cup is that players from the European leagues are physically exhausted," was his view. "It hasn’t been long since their domestic season drew to a close. We have to capitalise on any lapses in their concentration.”
Prediction: France 0, South Korea 2
hmph. Just realized that I've predicted 3 shut-outs. Seems a bit unlikely, but we'll see.