Game 41: USA vs. Ghana. Well, I think this one has been analyzed enough already, frankly. Look for O'Brien to step in to Reyna's role, Reyna to drop into Mastroenni's role, and maybe for Bocanegra to step into the middle, and Eddie Lewis back on the left side. Don't expect to see a lot of Beasley, but maybe a little more of Eddie Johnson. US needs to win. So does Ghana. Big tilt. The most talented player in this game may be Ghanian midfielder Michael Essien. He's the real fucking deal, folks.
Prediction: USA 2, Ghana 1
Game 42: Czech Republic vs. Italy Both are coming off what are kind of disaster games. Italy couldn't notch a 2nd goal (at least not one in the USA net. Ha-ha! Take that you dirty Italians) to beat the US when the US was down to 9 men. Ghana simply stomped a mudhole in the Czech's ass. Czech injury issues and suspensions are huge problems for them. No Ujfalusi patrolling the back maybe their biggest problem with the talent and depth of the Italian strikers. I think (and hope, of course) the Czechs are in a lot of trouble in this game.
Prediction: Czech Republic 1, Italy 3
Game 43: Japan vs. Brazil. Talented, somewhat out of shape and out of form Brazil vs the somewhat talented, crazy in shape and playing decently Japan. I gotta think this is when Brazil shows us some magic, possibly with their younger bench. Robinho may star in this game. Also, look for Fred. We love Fred. I don't know who to tell you to look out for on Japan's squad. They just aren't that dangerous, truth be told, at least no one individual is. The Dutch had Total Football. The Japanese have "The Hive Mind". That's right, I'm likening talented Asian sides to insects. We should also remember that Japan has to, has to win this game to have even the smallest chance to advance. Look for the first goal to be a Brazilian counter-attack of all things.
Prediction: Japan 0, Brazil 2
Game 44: Croatia vs. Australia. Pretty simple math here. Australia ties, they advance. Croatia wins, they advance (at least that's the likely scenario). Second place in this group is up for grabs, and so far, no one has seemed to be all that interested. Croatia looked better against Brazil than they did against Japan, but the fact remains that I still think they are the best team in this group not called Brazil. Australian play is a bit thuggish, and it could hurt them in this game a bit, as their reputation has been seen to be well-deserved in two straight games. The refs have been swallowing the whistle of late, but that doesn't mean Australia can keep getting away with some of the shit they've pulled.
Prediction: Croatia 3, Australia 2.
Croatia and Brazil advance. Brazil will face the US in the next round (shit!) and Croatia gets Italy, which should be a great game. This all supposes that my predictions are correct, which they haven't been in awhile. Fuck you for making me admit that.