World Cup Round of 16, Day 1
The group stage of this edition of the World Cup was something special. Great games, exciting finishes, special efforts by special players (Messi, Neymar, etc.) and USA found a way to get through. This is no mean achievement. They really were in a group of death. Jermaine Jones is playing as well as I have ever seen him play.
Now it's on to the Round of 16, which will come 2 by 2 daily (2 games each of the next 4 days,) Here are today's games and picks:
Round of 16 - Belo Horizonte, Brazil -1 over Chile. On form, Chile is playing better than Brazil. But Brazil showed some flashes against Cameroon (weak competition). The reality is this is a gut pick, not a form pick, which really should have Chile a pick here. Minimum investment. Should be a great game though.
Round of 16 - Rio de Janeiro, Colombia -½ over Uruguay. 20 years ago this month, Colombia entered the World Cup (held in the USA) as one of the favorites, having a great team that dominated South American qualifying, even beating Argentina in Buenos Aires by 5-0. At a friendly a few weeks before the tournament, Colombia drew over 77,000 to the Meadowlands. Instead of meeting expectations, Colombia flamed out, even losing to USA on an own goal by Andres Escobar. Of course, Escobar was later killed when he returned to Colombia.
The story of this current Colombia team certainly suffers under that shadow to some extent. But they have played beautiful soccer. Suarez did what he did, and Uruguay s not particularly good without him. I like Colombia a lot in this spot.
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