FIFA World Cup

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Brazil's Quest Continues on Day 6

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Brazil's Quest Continues on Day 6

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    Pool/Getty Images

    Bleacher Report's experts were keen not to rest on the laurels of their efforts of last season, so they will go into battle for the whole of the World Cup.

    Each game will feature a score prediction combined with a Man of the Match selection (decision will be based on FIFA's official Man of the Match).

    The predictions are below, and you will be able to chart their success—or lack thereof—for the rest of the tournament on our daily scoreboard.

    Post your own picks on Twitter and include @br_uk. Anyone who gets all correct scorelines and the Man of the Match awards correct will get a Bleacher Report goody bag.

Belgium vs. Algeria

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    Yves Logghe/Associated Press

    Alex Dimond: Belgium 2-0 Algeria

    Belgium, seemingly everyone's dark horses for glory this summer, will start their campaign with a lot of pressure on their shoulders—which may hurt more than it helps. Algeria are a well-organised side, but they are also somewhat functional, so I expect Belgium's class will tell over the course of the 90 minutes.

    Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne

    Kevin De Bruyne was one of Belgium's star players in qualification, although much of the focus tends to fall on Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. Nevertheless, he could be the one to drive his side to victory in this opener.

     

    Karl Matchett: Belgium 2-1 Algeria

    Algeria come into the tournament in good form after the warm-ups and won’t be as easy to beat as some might be expecting. Belgium, however, carry the weight of expectation, and since so many other big nations have started positively and with a win, they’ll need to do the same. They have the creative options to breach a tough defence.

    Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku

    All of the big-name forwards have hit the goal trail early on in this World Cup. Lukaku can follow suit and be the big difference.

     

    Mike Cummings: Belgium 2-0 Algeria

    How far will Belgium go? Are they dark horses, true contenders or somewhere in between? Algeria likely won't be easy to break down, but Belgium should be able to show why they deserved to be a seeded side at this World Cup with a steady opening win.

    Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku

    Lukaku—once again—will show what everyone besides Chelsea seem to know all too well.

     

    Sam Tighe: Belgium 3-0 Algeria

    Algeria aren't as bad as many believe—in fact, they could well be the next "hipster" team—but they should fall short here against a superior Belgium side.

    Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne

    De Bruyne and Eden Hazard versus out-of-contract Madjid Bougherra? On paper, it only ends one way.

     

    Will Tidey: Belgium 3-0 Algeria

    As we saw in 2010, Algeria can make things difficult for teams. That said, I think Belgium will start this World Cup with a flourish and make a statement of intent.

    Man of the Match: Eden Hazard

    Hazard loves the big stage and could put himself on the World Cup map in this one with a match-defining performance.

Brazil vs. Mexico

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Alex Dimond: Brazil 2-0 Mexico

    Having come through the opening game with the three points they desperately wanted, some of the pressure is off the hosts, and they may well play with a bit more cohesion and liberation in this game. With or without the referee's aid, they will be too good for Mexico, who looked slightly lightweight even as they beat Cameroon.

    Man of the Match: Oscar

    Oscar was the true Man of the Match against Croatia, although Neymar ultimately got the official award for his two goals. In this one, however, the tide might be turned if the Chelsea No. 10 scores for a second successive game—complementing his always impressive all-round game.

     

    Karl Matchett: Brazil 3-2 Mexico

    This should be an enthralling tactical battle, with both sides having pace and power throughout. Mexico can punish Brazil by getting two-on-two in attack against the centre-backs, but whatever they can create, Brazil can throw right back at them and more.

    Man of the Match: Oscar

    Oscar to continue his excellent start with another big, telling performance.

     

    Mike Cummings Brazil 2-1 Mexico

    El Tri impressed in their opener, but thanks to some poor refereeing, they managed to score only a single goal. Brazil weren't at their best but ended up putting three past Croatia. Mexico could be in position to get a result, but the Croatia game might have been the warning shot Brazil needed. 

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    As Neymar showed in the opener, he's capable of coming through for his team when they need him most. Oscar, meanwhile, pulled the strings for the Selecao and will expect to do so again.

     

    Sam Tighe: Brazil 2-1 Mexico

    Brazil have lost to Mexico more than any other side in history, and the latest loss in the Olympics really stung. El Tri will be hoping history is on their side, but the Selecao have several more gears to move through as yet.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    Neymar helped himself to a brace in the tournament opener, and any similar sort of performance will do the trick.

     

    Will Tidey: Brazil 2-1 Mexico

    Mexico have come a long way in a short time since their struggles in qualification. Brazil should be more relaxed after their opener, but having watched their respective opening games, I think this game will be hard-fought and very competitive. Brazil to edge it.

    Man of the Match: Fred

    The obvious choice would be Neymar, but I'm going for Fred to deliver both goals for the home nation.

Russia vs. South Korea

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    Alexander Kokorin: Can he star for Russia?
    Alexander Kokorin: Can he star for Russia?Francois Nel/Getty Images

    Alex Dimond: Russia 2-1 South Korea

    It will be interesting to see how much Fabio Capello has learned from the disastrous England tournament he oversaw in South Africa four years ago. His Russia side will be typically bullish in defence and have a threat on the counter-attack, which I think will be enough for them to beat South Korea without being especially impressive.

    Man of the Match: Alexander Kokorin

    Losing Roman Shirokov before the tournament was a huge blow for Russia, putting a lot of the attacking responsibility on Alexander Kokorin's shoulders. A goal or an assist in this one could well see him earn Man of the Match honours.

     

    Karl Matchett: Russia 2-1 South Korea

    Russia aren’t as free-flowing, creative, fast and clinical in attack as they have been in previous tournaments, but neither are Korea Republic as all-round impressive. Neither of these two should make a big impact on the tournament as a whole, but Russia should just about come out on top.

    Man of the Match: Kim Young-Gwon

    Kim Young-Gwon is a talented and quick left-sided central defender, strong in the air and good in possession. He’s capable of being one of his team's stars and could be busy in their opening game.

     

    Mike Cummings: Russia 1-0 South Korea

    How will Russia cope without injured captain Roman Shirokov? Capello's team benefited from a relatively forgiving draw, but scoring was sometimes scarce in their warm-up friendlies.

    Man of the Match: Alexander Kokorin

    Kokorin will likely lead the line for Russia, and a goal could be enough to catch the eye.

     

    Sam Tighe: Russia 2-1 South Korea

    Russia vs. South Korea could well be the first truly boring game of the tournament, with both sides set to put up unspectacular sides and formations.

    Man of the Match: Alexander Kerzhakov

    Both sides lack star quality, but the Russians are less reliant on goalscoring wingers and can make up the difference in other areas—Kerzhakov being one.

     

    Will Tidey: Russia 2-0 South Korea

    Russia have the quality to win this one and a manager in Capello who's been here before.

    Man of the Match: Alan Dzagoev

    Alan Dzagoev had a very impressive tournament at Euro 2012. He's Russia's creative spark and a player who can turn games for them.

Updated Standings

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    B/R Expert Picks

    (One point for correct result, three points for correct scoreline and two points for correct Man of the Match.)

    Michael Cummings26
    Sam Tighe 25
    Karl Matchett 21
    Will Tidey 19
    Alex Dimond 12

     

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