FIFA World Cup

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: England Fighting for Their Lives

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2014

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: England Fighting for Their Lives

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    Claudio Villa/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 (Based on FIFA's official decision).

    The predictions are in the following slides, 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 scorelines and the Man of the Match awards right will get a Bleacher Report goody bag.

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Alex Dimond: Colombia 2-2 Ivory Coast

    Both sides looked dangerous in their opening games, particularly going forward. This contest figures to be another high-scoring affair, with a draw doing neither side too much harm in their bid to reach the knockout stages.

    Man of the Match: Wilfried Bony

    The Swansea striker eventually made a chance count to help his side come from behind to beat Japan, and he will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet once more against the South Americans.

     

    Karl Matchett: Colombia 3-1 Ivory Coast

    Colombia will be full of confidence after their opening-day victory and are favourites to progress top of the group, especially if they see off Ivory Coast, who can be hit or miss. The African side might have won their own game, but Japan were disappointing opposition and Ivory Coast were rather one-dimensional in attack. The extra creativity of Colombia should be telling.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    If he can find space behind the midfield pivot again, he’ll run riot from the central role.

     

    Michael Cummings: Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast

    Both teams took maximum points in their opening games, and both will be keen to do the same again. Victory will almost certainly ensure passage to the knockout stages, which would be a first for Ivory Coast. But the Elephants will have to wait a bit longer as Colombia march on.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    Rodriguez really is a classy player, too classy to ignore.

     

    Sam Tighe: Colombia 2-0 Ivory Coast

    Ivory Coast bucked up their ideas as soon as Didier Drogba entered the fray against Japan, scoring two goals in quick succession to win a crucial match 2-1. It feels like they used their lot and showed all their cards, whereas Colombia have several gears to move through.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    Ivory Coast won't touch the ball all that much, and Colombia are very difficult to counter-attack against, leaving four back and outmuscling their opponents when they come close. James Rodriguez, on the other hand, is untouchable in the final third.

     

    Will Tidey: Colombia 2-0 Ivory Coast

    Colombia put in a high-tempo, energetic performance against Greece in their opener. Ivory Coast have their strengths, but I think the South Americans will be too strong for them.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    James Rodriguez was the controlling influence for Colombia in midfield. With a left foot like a velvet slipper, he's the man who'll win this one for them.

Uruguay vs. England

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Alex Dimond: Uruguay 1-2 England

    Uruguay need more than just the return of Luis Suarez to turn things around, judging by the way they floundered in the second half against Costa Rica. England also lost their opener, against Italy, but looked reasonably proficient in the process. Their array of attacking talent, with or without Wayne Rooney, should be too much for a Uruguayan defence that looks slightly stale.

    Man of the Match: Daniel Sturridge

    Daniel Sturridge got a goal on his World Cup debut, and his movement, speed and eye for goal should cause constant problems for a Uruguay side that is not the most mobile in the competition.

     

    Karl Matchett: Uruguay 1-2 England

    It’s a huge game for both teams, but England have more attacking options. The loser here is likely out of the tournament, while even a draw would suit England more than Uruguay given both teams’ last fixture. It could be one of the tightest, scrappiest games if the pressure gets to the players, but England should have the creativity to taunt an aged Uruguay back line.

    Man of the Match: Raheem Sterling

    Continuing his emergence as arguably the top young attacker in the game right now, he’ll perhaps play wider to start and really cause havoc as Uruguay are without Maxi Pereira.

     

    Michael Cummings: Uruguay 2-3 England

    Uruguay and England are desperate for points, and after losing by two goals to Costa Rica, Uruguay will be desperate for goals as well. So will we see an attacking, stylish England? If the Three Lions are to stay alive, it might just have to happen.

    Man of the Match: Raheem Sterling

    Raheem Sterling was impressive against a good Italy defence. With Uruguay looking shaky in their first game, the Liverpool man may get more joy.

     

    Sam Tighe: Uruguay 1-1 England

    Uruguay vs. England is an absurdly difficult match to call, as you don't know whether the Three Lions will continue in the same vein as in their match versus Italy, and it's difficult to believe La Celeste can be that bad again. Luis Suarez is back, Wayne Rooney will be either dropped or moved, and the game appears level on paper.

    Man of the Match: Daniel Sturridge

    Daniel Sturridge is a game-winner, and he'll have a definite chance of scoring his second World Cup goal against a seemingly poor Uruguay defence.

     

    Will Tidey: Uruguay 1-2 England

    It's going to be tight and uncomfortable viewing for the fans of both sides. Luis Suarez will inevitably score, but I think England have enough going forward to win the match.

    Man of the Match: Daniel Sturridge

    Daniel Sturridge appears to be enjoying himself. I predict he'll score both goals in England's win and we'll see that celebration dance again.

Japan vs. Greece

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    Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

    Alex Dimond: Japan 1-1 Greece 

    After opening defeats, both sides really must win this match, but their opposing skill sets figure to cancel each other out. Japan look good on the ball and creative in patches, whereas Greece—the Colombia disaster apart—build their game on a solid defence. A draw is the most likely outcome.

    Man of the Match: Shinji Kagawa

    After seeing Keisuke Honda grab his side's goal in the opener, this game might be Kagawa's chance to impose himself. His vision and touch in and around the box could well be pivotal to whatever Japan get out of this game.

     

    Karl Matchett: Japan 2-1 Greece 

    It's likely win or bust for these two teams, but Greece have no extra gear to find. They are reliant on a tough defensive unit which melted away entirely for game No. 1. Their attack is predictable and stilted, and Japan should improve enough to carve out more chances of their own.

    Man of the Match: Keisuke Honda

    One of the few who played relatively well in the first game and a big man for the big occasion for his nation.

     

    Michael Cummings: Japan 1-0 Greece 

    Greece's normally stout defence suffered against the speed and style of Colombia. Japan will take a similar approach with Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa. The question is, will they be bullied in the second half as they were against Ivory Coast?

    Man of the Match: Keisuke Honda

    Keisuke Honda will get plenty of the ball, and I feel he will punish the Greeks.

     

    Sam Tighe: Japan 2-1 Greece

    Neither of these two sides look like they'll be able to keep a clean sheet, while they were also not brilliant in attack. Greece showed far more attacking impetus than we'd expectedand had more of the ball, toobut failed defensively in the same manner as Japan did.

    Man of the Match: Shinji Okazaki

    Shinji Okazaki will grab a goal at some point in this tournament, whether he's playing from the right or up front. He can be the match-winner.

     

    Will Tidey: Japan 2-1 Greece

    Greece were pretty poor in their opener, though they did make some good chances. Japan were undone by Ivory Coast, but I think they can take this one. It'll be very close.

    Man of the Match: Shinji Kagawa

    Shinji Kagawa to show the world what's he capable of, setting up both goals for Japan.

Updated Standings

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    Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

    B/R Expert Picks

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

    Sam Tighe34
    Karl Matchett29
    Michael Cummings29
    Will Tidey23
    Alex Dimond19

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