OK, World Cup, you might want to slow down a little bit. At this pace, half the world's population is going to suffer a heart attack watching you over the next month.
Through 14 matches, there has been just one draw and 44 total goals. There have been transcendent team performances, amazing individual and team goals, dramatic comebacks and multiple matches decided in the final moments.
I love this World Cup tournament, only one boring 0-0 match out of 14, and 44 goals. #sambabold— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) June 17, 2014
On Monday, we got a little bit of everything. Iran vs. Nigeria turned into a bit of a snoozer, but Germany's world-class effort against Portugal and the United States' roller-coaster, instant-classic victory over a determined Ghana side more than made up for it. Unless you're from Portugal or Ghana, of course.
This tournament seems to be getting better by the day, so let's take a look at what Tuesday has in store for an encore.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0||0||1||-1||0|
As of matches played on June 16
Matchday 6 Fixtures, Odds and Predictions
|Matchup (Odds)||Draw Odds||Prediction|
|Belgium (2-5) vs. Algeria (7-1)||15-4||Belgium, 3-1|
|Brazil (5-16) vs. Mexico (8-1)||9-2||Brazil, 3-1|
|Russia (10-11) vs. South Korea (3-1)||13-5||Draw, 1-1|
Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark
Most will look at the day's opening match and project a blowout. The Belgians are full to the brim with talent all over the pitch, from Eden Hazard to Romelu Lukaku to Marouane Fellaini to Vincent Kompany to Thibaut Courtois. Algeria, meanwhile, are short on household names and have just two players with 30 or more international caps.
ZonalMarking.Net's Michael Cox warned against conventional thinking, though:
@Millar_Colin Belgium are overrated, Russia are overrated, Korea aren't very good, Algeria are underrated— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) June 8, 2014
Belgium's lack of full-backs can make them susceptible, and Algeria has exciting attacking options in Islam Slimani and El Arbi Hillel Soudani. Don't be surprised if Vahid Halilhodzic's team finds the back of the net.
But that's as far as I'm willing to go with this prediction. Belgium simply have too much talent everywhere else. They have a good goalkeeper, strong center-backs, hard-working central midfielders and dangerously creative attackers. They will still control a majority of possession and grab three points.
Up next is Brazil vs. Mexico.
The hosts weren't convincing against Croatia in their opener, while El Tri was impressive against Cameroon, but don't get carried away with expectations. Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera, via ESPN's Tom Marshall, discussed the upcoming opponent:
No man-marking Neymar for Mexico. Herrera: "Brazil isn’t just Neymar, there are (other) great players that can make the difference."— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) June 16, 2014
Mexico won't be afraid to come at Brazil, and this will turn into a wide-open, back-and-forth match. In that instance, Neymar, Oscar and Hulk—with overlapping runs from Marcelo and Dani Alves—will be too much for El Tri to handle.
Match you're most looking forward to?
The final match is the most even.
Russia is regarded as the better team, but without Roman Shirokov, they could struggle against South Korea's organization and speed on the outside.
Ultimately, I'll go with the draw, but if we've learned anything through the first five days of this tournament, it's to expect the unexpected.