So, this weekend promises to be the best weekend of top-level football (soccer, that is) in at least two years, maybe more.
Therefore, it's time for me to make some Entirely Unfounded, Thoroughly Personal predictions:
- Copa final, Sunday @ 6 PM California time, Chile vs Argentina.
Argentina will win, on penalty shootout, after an extremely exciting 2-2 conclusion in regular time. This match features the No. 1 and No. 5 teams in the entire world, both of which are playing at peak level in recent weeks.
- Euro Round of 16 predictions:
- Switzerland v Poland. Go Poland! They win 1-0.
- Croatia v Portugal. Portugal return to their previous poor form, and Croatia win 2-0.
- Wales v Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland had a tough first group, and meet a Welsh team playing very well. Wales win, 2-1
- Hungary v Belgium. Which Belgian team will show up? Hungary took first in the weakest group, while Belgium survived the toughest group. Belgium 3-1 in a sparkler of a game.
- Germany v Slovakia. Germany are superb, but Slovakia know how to frustrate opponents. Germany survive, 1-0, after a nail-biting 90 minutes
- Italy v Spain. What a great match for the round of 16! Both teams were favorites to be in the finals at the start of the tournament. Italy won the toughest group while Spain were exposed by Croatia. Still, Spain return to form in this game and defeat Italy in a painfully ugly 0-0 battle decided on a Spanish goal in extra time.
- France v Republic of Ireland. Ireland's miracle victory over Italy got them here, but they have no such luck against the hosts. France win 2-0.
- England v Iceland. In an astounding course of events, England leave the Euros twice in just 4 days, first at the election polls, and then again on Monday in a 2-1 victory by Iceland that leaves the entire British Isles agog in dismay.
So, there you go.
Please don't race down to William Hill and wager your life savings on any of these predictions, of course...