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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Quarter Final Lineup

Football World Cup 2006 in Germany

- Argentina v. Germany 8:30pm IST* Fri., 30 Jun
Argentine coach Jose Pekerman needs to play Messi and Tevez as strikers to start the match on an attacking note and score the first goal. If Germany goes a goal ahead in the first half then it would be difficult for Argentina to break through the strong German defence.

I hope Argentina wins, but Germany is in form and with the home crowd behind them, they might give a superlative performance to reach the semis.

- Italy v. Ukraine 12:30am IST Sat., 1 Jul
Italy should consider themselves lucky to reach the quarterfinals. Their defence would hold Ukraine, but they need to score to win, else anything is possible in the penalty shootout.

Italy should go through if they score in the first half.

- Portugal v. England 8:30pm IST Sat., 1 Jul
Portugal, even without Deco and with many players yellow carded, still are the favourites for this match. England's defensive approach will cost them dear. What's the point in playing for the match to end after scoring a goal, like England did versus Ecuador. England should go for goals, because that's what the Portuguese are going to do, and if England decide to sit on a one nil lead, it would be a surefire recipe for defeat.

Luis Figo as the playmaker and Cristiano Ronaldo, if fit, and Maniche as the strikers pose a threat to England. Hope Frank Lampard, after all the missed chances, gets one through this time for England, although a single goal won't be enough for England to win versus Portugal.

- Brazil v. France 12:30am IST Sun., 2 Jul
This seems to be a classic in the making. Brazil are strong, but their defence can be beaten, and Zinedine Zidane needs only a shot to convert a chance to a goal. It should be a high scoring game, and hopefully should not go to the penalty shoot out, because Barthez can snatch the game from Brazil in penalties.

So it would be Argentina, Italy, Portugal, and Brazil; or it may well be the other way round with Germany, Ukraine, England, and France. Let's see.

*IST: Indian Standard Time.