B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Neymar Takes Centre Stage

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2014

B/R Experts' World Cup Predictions: Neymar Takes Centre Stage

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    Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

    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 receive a Bleacher Report goody bag.

Brazil vs. Chile

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    Alex Dimond: Brazil 1-0 Chile

    We're at the point of no return, so this could be cagey. The host nation to be roared on to a narrow win.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    I could go for any number of players, but there really is only one choice. 

     

    Karl Matchett: Brazil 3-2 Chile

    This has all the ingredients to be one of the classics of the World Cup...or, if both teams disappoint, a cagey and tight affair. If it follows the general pattern of the finals so far, though, it should be an excellent game.

    Chile's press-and-play tactic is capable of undoing Brazil at the back, but similarly, they're never so dangerous as when flooding forward on the counter themselves. Ultimately, if they sort out their midfield, that's what could count the most.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    Neymar has glory in his sights, the country at his back, and his form is immense. 

     

    Michael Cummings: Brazil 2-1 Chile

    The hosts couldn't really go out this early, right? Actually, against such an exciting, talented Chile team, they could. I have a feeling Neymar is just heating up, though.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    We saw it last summer in the Confederations Cup, and we're starting to see it again this summer. Neymar can carry this Brazil team to glory.

     

    Sam Tighe: Brazil 2-1 Chile

    As much as I've loved watching Chile and become enamoured with their style and approach to the game, I get the feeling they'll fall short against the very best for the second tournament running.

    Man of the Match: Fred

    Chile's aerial weakness was exploited by Tim Cahill in their opener, and I expect Brazil to take advantage of it using Fred.

     

    Will Tidey: Brazil 2-1 Chile

    Chile will be stiff opposition, but Brazil's run won't be stopped here. I expect Neymar, once again, to be the difference.

    Man of the Match: Neymar

    Neymar to add to his four goals and continue building his reputation with another fine performance.

Colombia vs. Uruguay

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Alex Dimond: Colombia 1-1 Uruguay (Colombia win in extra time)

    Uruguay are without Luis Suarez, and that will hurt, but they are still a decent team. Colombia, though, are a classy side, and they can win through.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    James has been one of the stars of the show, and I expect that to continue.

     

    Karl Matchett: Colombia 2-1 Uruguay

    The second all-South American game could be equally exciting, though expectations of excitement will be lowered a little by Luis Suarez’s absence. That will really hurt Uruguay, who missed him versus Costa Rica, and it will be a boost to Colombia, too. They have enough in their attack to trouble their continental rivals and should just about find passage.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    Form plays a key role in the knock-outs, and Rodriguez can be a match winner again.

     

    Michael Cummings: Colombia 2-1 Uruguay

    Will the Luis Suarez situation weigh heavily on Uruguay? Or will they move on without him? I'm not sure it will matter on their end. Colombia are playing great football and look tough to beat at the moment.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    James has been one of the most exciting players of the tournament. When he's playing well, it seems like Colombia can score at any time.

     

    Sam Tighe: Colombia 2-0 Uruguay

    With Luis Suarez confirmed as out of the round-of-16 match-up, Uruguay's slim chance of beating Colombia evaporated into thin air. Los Cafeteros will have too much for them in every part of the pitch.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    He hasn't steered me wrong yet, and he'll start versus La Celeste after playing a reduced 45 minutes in the final group game.

     

    Will Tidey: Colombia 1-1 Uruguay (Colombia win on pens)

    Colombia are the better side, but Uruguay are Uruguay. They will make this one a bitter scrap to the end, and I can see it going all the way to pens.

    Man of the Match: James Rodriguez

    James has been the star of the show so far. I expect that to continue.

Updated Standings

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    Martin Mejia/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 Tighe 70
    Michael Cummings62
    Will Tidey 60
    Karl Matchett 56
    Alex Dimond 49