Holland 1-1 USA
The Dutch are being criticized back home for being perceived as negative, not attacking enough.
Retiring after the tournament, Van Gaal is long enough in the tooth to handle it.
To be fair they were in a group where they had zero need to assert themselves.
I think they will be conservative on Saturday which will allow the Americans to stay in the tie.
Glorious failure as I will pick Holland on penalties.
Argentina 3-0 Australia
Given they lost their opener to Saudi Arabia things could have turned out a lot worse for Argentina then Australia in the knockout stages.
To be fair they handled the intense pressure well without relying just on Messi.
Credit to their fans for sticking with the team and creating an atmosphere like they are the home team.
Only Morocco can compete with the noise the Argentines have made.
England 1-0 Senegal
The problem with Southgate making changes for the Welsh game is the fickle fanbase he represents.
Rashford scored twice and Foden was on the scoresheet so he will be critiqued if he drops either.
Yet the same supporters will complain is Saka is on the bench.
In knockout football the manager’s natural incline is to be conservative, he’s more inclined to play a Henderson and Rice then fit in another attacking midfielder.
I expect the Three Lions to advance but with question marks over the display.
France 2-0 Poland
Hard to know how the Poles will approach this.
Against Argentina their ambition consisted of not being beaten heavily and hoping Mexico didn’t score enough in their fixture (that nearly backfired).
Are they content to get this far so treat this as a free swing?
Or do they park the bus and play for penalties?
Japan 2-1 Croatia
The hardest tie to forecast how both teams will approach.
Croatia like to be organised while Japan like to counterattack.
They beat Germany and Spain but lost to Costa Rica due to being uncomfortable with having the ball and expected to take the initiative.
Might go into extra time.
Brazil 2-1 S Korea
There’s an increasing feeling that Neymar won’t be fit enough to return to the World Cup and that Brazil don’t want to confirm it due to the risk of upsetting the spirit in the squad.
It would be a shock if he started on Monday.
Neymar is the one player who can produce a moment of magic out of the hat, with Tite choosing his team to be more conservative than previous Brazilian teams.
With nothing to lose and a decent support following them, South Korea can scare Brazil.
Morocco 2-1 Spain
There were so many upsets in the group stage that it’s natural we will have one in the last 8.
Morocco have conceded once since their manager took over (an own goal).
Spain struggle with to break down teams at times.
They will dominate possession but don’t kill off their opponents.
Morocco’s fan will make this an away game for the Spanish, and it will be a test of the character of some of their youngsters.
Portugal 1-1 Switzerland
Two teams with such experience they used their Streetwise skills to manoeuvre through their groups.
Both can set up hard to beat and it might be a game of chess
Swiss on pens?
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