World Cup quarter final previews
Posted 30th June 2010
The 2010 World Cup's eight quarter finalists can be split into two groups: the teams that expected to reach this stage and are potential winners and those whose presence in the last eight is already something of a bonus.
The stakes are particularly high for two of these three underdogs. Uruguay and Ghana play each other knowing victory over such beatable opposition would result in them being just 90 minutes away from a dream World Cup final.
Flowing football is rare in the tense knockout stages and we should not expect a thriller in this one. Both have reached this stage thanks to well organised defences and, despite some exciting attacking talent being on show in the form of Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez and Asamoah Gyan, expect a single goal (or penalties) to settle this one. Ghana, more affected by suspension and injury than their opponents, start this one as slight underdogs.
The most attractive tie is undoubtedly the one between old foes Germany and Argentina. They won a final apiece against each other in 1986 and 1990, whilst Die Mannschaft came out on top on penalties four years ago at the same stage.
Neither side will be able to repeat the quality of football they produced in easing through their last 16 matches, but the superiority of both attacks over the defences suggests there should be goals. A 2-1 win for Argentina is one of my World Cup 2010 tips.
Brazil and Holland have both been efficiently impressive in reaching this stage, mixing defensive solidity with occasional bursts of flair. There are plenty of match winners on each team but clear chances will be at a premium. The Dutch are on a 23-match unbeaten streak and Holland's World Cup 2010 odds make them attractive underdogs to progress.
Spain are the firmest favourites to reach the semi finals. They face Paraguay, contesting their first ever World Cup quarter final, with memories of their travails against the Swiss long forgotten. They have added patience to their brilliant passing and movement and know they have the tournament's most in-form striker in David Villa - they might create only one clear chance against a well-organised defence, but this man will take it.