FIFA World Cup

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Brazil Aim to Power On

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2014

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Brazil Aim to Power On

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    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 correct will get a Bleacher Report goody bag.

Australia vs. Spain

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    Alex Dimond: Australia 1-1 Spain

    Both sides will want to go out of the competition with at least a little bit of pride intact. Spain have the quality, but with perhaps less motivation, Australia may just be able to snatch something out of this after going so close in the previous two games.

    Man of the Match: Juan Mata

    It is hard to know who will even start in this dead rubber. Benched for the opening two games, perhaps Juan Mata will show what his country has been missing with a virtuoso display in this one.

     

    Karl Matchett: Australia 0-1 Spain

    There’s no real reason to suspect Spain will win this game after what we’ve seen from them in this tournament, other than they must have a huge amount of pride to play for having fallen so far this time around. Presumably some of the newer members of the squad will get to play, and they certainly have enough talent to win.

    Man of the Match: Koke

    Koke can show what the new-look Spain side might be able to offer.

     

    Michael Cummings: Australia 2-1 Spain

    Another meaningless match, at least on paper. It's been a disastrous World Cup for Spain, who were knocked out faster than any previous defending champions. Australia, meanwhile, have entertained and even impressed despite supposedly being out of their depth. They won't have Tim Cahill, but another good performance might just be enough to complete Spain's misery.

    Man of the Match: Mathew Leckie

    He's turned heads with his performances on the flank for Australia. Now's his chance to do something truly memorable against the outgoing world champions.

     

    Sam Tighe: Australia 0-1 Spain

    Both Australia and Spain are out, but they'll be looking to play for a bit of pride. It's a chance for several reserves to seize their opportunity, but without Tim Cahill (suspension), it's tough to see the Socceroos prevailing.

    Man of the Match: Koke

    Koke should have started the match against Chile; he quickened the rhythm of Spain's passing when he came on. He deserves to start a World Cup game after the season he's just enjoyed.

     

    Will Tidey: Australia 1-3 Spain

    Australia have been plucky enough at this World Cup, but without Tim Cahill they lack a player to take them past Spain—wounded animal that they are. 

    Man of the Match: David Villa

    Somebody has to score Spain's goals, and it may as well be David Villa bowing out in style on the international stage with a brace.

Netherlands vs. Chile

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    Alex Dimond: Netherlands 1-2 Chile

    This game is surprisingly vital, despite the fact that both sides are already through to the last 16 of the competition. The winner will probably avoid Brazil in the next round (depending on results), a fact that could define how far they can go in the competition. Both sides have impressed so far, but without Robin van Persie, the Dutch might just find themselves outdone by a Chile side whose work rate is hard to match.

    Man of the Match: Alexis Sanchez

    Alexis Sanchez has been on fire all tournament, and he could well fire his country to top spot in Group B in this one.

     

    Karl Matchett: Netherlands 1-1 Chile

    Chile need to go for the win if they want top spot in the group, and they’re certainly good enough to beat Netherlands. However, their opponents have great players to be effective on the counter-attack, and that should see them offer enough threat of their own.

    Man of the Match: Alexis Sanchez

    Alexis Sanchez to be an important part of Chile’s work, on and off the ball, and give the Dutch defence a really tough game.

     

    Michael Cummings: Netherlands 2-2 Chile

    Both teams have impressed. Both teams have thrilled. Both are through to the round of 16. This might be an almost meaningless match (there's still the question of who faces Brazil in the next round), but it will be full of entertainment if both sides decide to make it so.

    Man of the Match: Arjen Robben

    Robin van Persie misses out through suspension, so Arjen Robben could be the main man for the Oranje. If he plays, that is.

     

    Sam Tighe: Netherlands 2-1 Chile

    A battle to claim top spot and potentially avoid Brazil is important, but I still expect to see some rotation among the squads. Chile are in red-hot form but will likely be without Charles Aranguiz and Arturo Vidal, tipping the scales in favour of the Dutch.

    Man of the Match: Arjen Robben

    He's been absolutely sensational so far, and there's no reason to start doubting him now.

     

    Will Tidey: Netherlands 2-2 Chile

    Netherlands looked very good against Spain, but they didn't hit the same high notes against Australia. We'll find a balance here, with the impressive Chile matching them blow for blow.

    Man of the Match: Alexis Sanchez

    Sanchez has looked very sharp so far. I think he can hurt the Dutch in the final third and will cause them major problems.

Cameroon vs. Brazil

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    Alex Dimond: Cameroon 0-3 Brazil

    Cameroon produced perhaps the most abject performance of the competition against Croatia, a defeat that ensured their early exit from the competition. That does not bode well for this one. Perhaps Brazil's misfiring strike force will finally find a rhythm just in time for the knockout stages.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    Neymar has been about the only forward for Brazil who has shown a real spark so far, and against Cameroon his quick feet and precise shooting may well be enough to earn him Man of the Match honours.

     

    Karl Matchett: Cameroon 0-2 Brazil

    Brazil have to play far better than they have so far if they are going to be successful in the World Cup, but Cameroon have been a shambles so far. Even at 80 percent, Brazil should have too much for them.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    Neymar, because who else has shown they can consistently step up for the host nation?

     

    Michael Cummings: Cameroon 0-3 Brazil

    Cameroon turned in perhaps the worst single performance of the World Cup in falling to Croatia last time out. Brazil haven't been great, but it's hard to see any team losing to or even drawing with Cameroon at this point.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    A big win could be just what Neymar and Co. need to really get going. Fortunately, Cameroon won't be nearly as stubborn as Mexico were last time out.

      

    Sam Tighe: Cameroon 0-3 Brazil

    Brazil have struggled a little to get going, but the Cameroon game serves as their platform to finally find their feet and post a convincing victory. Three-nil against a shambolic side.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    With Fred looking awful and Luiz Felipe Scolari's rotation in midfield harming the chemistry, let's just plump for Neymar. Again.

     

    Will Tidey: Cameroon 0-5 Brazil

    I'm going all-out romp for Brazil here. Cameroon are a complete mess and have been perhaps the worst side at the tournament.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    Hat-trick for Neymar on the cards I think. He's going to light this one up, and the host nation are going to make the statement of intent we've been waiting for.

Croatia vs. Mexico

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    Alex Dimond: Croatia 1-1 Mexico

    Can Croatia succeed where Brazil failed and score against a dogged Mexico defence? They will need to if they want to reach the knockout rounds at their opponents' expense. However, El Tri are masters at reaching the knockout stages, and they may just ride their luck to get the draw they need here.

    Man of the Match: Ivan Rakitic

    After Guillermo Ochoa's heroics against Brazil, maybe Ivan Rakitic is the man to get the better of him in this one—especially if coach Niko Kovac pushes him further forward to have a bigger influence on the game.

     

    Karl Matchett: Croatia 2-1 Mexico

    This should be a terrific game and a tactical battle, but Croatia’s greater penalty-area threat could turn out to be the big difference. With pace, power and goalscoring ability throughout their front line, you fancy them to outscore Mexico if it comes to that.

    Man of the Match: Ivan Perisic

    Perisic is having a terrific tournament so far, and getting him in behind the Mexico wing-backs could be the way to break down the best defence at the finals so far.

     

    Michael Cummings: Croatia 2-1 Mexico

    So this is the big one, with fans and neutrals from multiple continents geared up for what could be a truly intriguing contest. Croatia's midfield is excellent and will be again. Mexico have impressed in almost all phases, with perhaps the exception of the final third (though the referee did them no favours in the opener). This one could come down to finishing, and with Mario Mandzukic coming back to the side in good form, Croatia might just edge it.

    Man of the Match: Mario Mandzukic

    The big striker served as a focal point for the attack against Cameroon, allowing others like Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Luka Modric to be their brilliant selves. A repeat performance from all the above would likely be enough to send the Europeans through.

     

    Sam Tighe: Croatia 2-1 Mexico

    The biggest game of the day is Croatia vs. Mexico, and the permutations are simple: A Vatreni win sees Niko Kovac's men through; anything else and they're going home. I'm backing Croatia in a very tense battle.

    Man of the Match: Mario Mandzukic

    He grabbed two goals against Cameroon, and he's set to continue his little streak here.

     

    Will Tidey: Croatia 1-2 Mexico

    Mexico are a different side to the one that went through qualifying. They're strong, disciplined and extremely focused. I have a feeling they can edge this one and reach the last 16 at Croatia's expense.

    Man of the Match: Giovani dos Santos

    Dos Santos has threatened a big game in his two appearances so far. This could be it, and at precisely the right time.

Updated Standings

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    B/R Expert Picks

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

    Sam Tighe47
    Michael Cummings46
    Karl Matchett 43
    Will Tidey39
    Alex Dimond 30

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