Fans cheer during the final match of the round of 16 where Spain beat Portugal: 1-0
The knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup is over. Below is the list of teams that made the group of 16 and 'Cleats' predictions for which countries would move on to the quarter finals.
Now that the results are in, how do you think we did?
(this was originally published on Friday, June 25, but has been updated with match results)
URUGUAY vs. SOUTH KOREA, Port Elizabeth
- Storyline: Old world vs. New World. Winners of the first World Cup in 1930 surprise fans by getting this far in South Africa after stumbling through qualification. South Korea hadn't won a game in the finals before 2002, but now is consistent, if modest.
- Players to watch: Uruguay's Diego Forlan, Atletico Madrid striker. South Korea's Park Ji-sung, Manchester United midfielder.
- NPR prediction: Uruguay's attacking talent to prove superior.
*UPDATE: We hate to say it, but 'Cleats' told you so!: Uruguay won 2-1
USA vs. GHANA, Rustenburg
- Storyline: Africa's last hope in the tournament. Can USA use joy of Landon Donovan's injury-time goal against Algeria as springboard?
- Players to watch: Landon Donovan for the U.S.; scored the winner against Algeria and the crucial first goal against Slovenia. Ghana missing key midfielder, Michael Essien, but Kwadwo Asamoah is dangerous going forward.
- NPR prediction: USA to see off robust Ghanaians.
*UPDATE: Oops! Looks like we got that wrong: Ghana won 2-1
ENGLAND vs. GERMANY, Bloemfontein
- Storyline: Reliving World War II and 1966 World Cup Final. Expect nationalistic headlines aplenty in both countries. Can England build on their win over Slovenia? Will this game be decided by penalties?
- Players to watch: Wayne Rooney of England has looked rusty so far. Can he shine? Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger is pivotal in the center of midfield, but is a major injury doubt.
- NPR prediction: England experience to overcome German vorsprung and technik.
*UPDATE: No comment, too busy crying: Germany with the win 4-1
ARGENTINA vs. MEXICO, Johannesburg
- Storyline: It's the Diego Maradona psycho-drama. Maradona is proof that in any sport great players rarely make great managers. Argentina has tons of talent, but will Maradona's tactical and selection decisions turn a tango into a poorly coordinated barn dance? Mexico is looking for revenge for defeat against Argentina in the round of 16 at the last World Cup.
- Players to watch: Lionel Messi for Argentina. Best player on the planet. Period. Mexican coach Javier Aguirre must decide between new-boy striker Javier Hernández and old hand Cuauhtémoc Blanco.
- NPR prediction: Argentine offensive flair to shine.
*UPDATE: Right again!: Argentina 3-1, Aguirre's mistake might have been his decision to use old-hand(s) goal keeper, Conejo Perez.
NETHERLANDS vs. SLOVAKIA, Durban
- Storyline: Dutch looking strong with three tournament wins. Slovakia is the surprise package after sending holders Italy home in tears.
- Players to watch: Wesley Sneijder for the Dutch. Inter Milan playmaker is capping Champions League win with excellent performances.
- Robert Vittek for Slovakia. His two goals against Italy were decisive.
- NPR prediction: Netherlands offense to trump defensive doubts.
*UPDATE: On a roll!: Oranje claims victory, 2-1
BRAZIL vs. CHILE, Johannesburg
- Storyline: Is this a great Brazilian vintage or not? Like first growth Bordeaux, Brazil is often outstanding, generally very good and sometimes overrated. They weren't especially impressive in the group matches, but they haven't had to be. Chile will be a good test for one of the tournament favorites.
- Key players: Jean Beausejour of Chile. Winger will need all his tricks to find holes in Brazilian defense. For Brazil, Gilberto Silva in the center of the park is critical.
- NPR Prediction: Brazil's greater depth, skill and World Cup experience should see them through against a Chile team weakened by injury and suspensions.
*UPDATE: Not a difficult one to call, the seleção is in the house, 3-0
PARAGUAY vs. JAPAN, Pretoria
- Storyline: Formidable in the qualifiers, Paraguay is proving just as resilient in this tournament. Japan struck early against Denmark and has been impressive.
- Players to watch: Japan's Keisuke Honda. The CSKA Moscow striker is in form. Paraguay's Enrique Vera. He scored against Slovakia.
- NPR prediction: South Americans to continue strong hemispheric showing.
*UPDATE: Great defending on both sides leading this game to a penalty shootout, in the end Japanese defender Komano missed his shot and Paraguay moves on to the group of 8: 5-3
SPAIN vs. PORTUGAL, Cape Town
- Storyline: Bragging rights on the Iberian Peninsula at stake. Can an attacking and entertaining Spanish team find a way through Portugal's stifling defense?
- Players to Watch: Andres Iniesta for Spain. Midfield genius will need all his creativity to unlock Portuguese defense.
- Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal. Superstar striker needs to find his scoring touch.
- NPR Prediction: Portugal's fortifications will thwart the Spanish invaders.
*UPDATE: There was an internal battle at 'Cleats' over this prediction, Sweeney said Spain, Turpin claimed Portugal. Meraji backed Turpin because she's in love with Cristiano Ronaldo and Spain let her down early on in the tournament.
Sweeney and Spain with the win: 1-0
Composite made from AP images
'Cleats' quarter finals predictions coming soon: Can the Seleção outshine Oranje on the pitch?