So far, out of 12 matches in the knockouts, I made 8 predictions. Of those 8, all have been correct. The matches are now going to be closer and closer. Predictions get harder and harder. Now getting it right is as much about luck as logic.
Now time for some future predictions
1. Brazil to Beat Germany
Everyone knows about the Mental toughness of the Germans. Everyone knows about the flair, talent and brilliance of the Brazilians. What is usually forgotten is that the Brazilians are mentally tough in their own right. For instance, how many penalties has Brazil lost in this and previous world cups? Exactly! Do you guys know that since 1974, 6 of the 7 teams to knock out Brazil have gone on to the Finals. That is just how hard Brazil are to beat.
Then there is history and Psychology. Notice how Chile never really believed that they could beat the Brazilians. Notice how the Colombians suddenly played their worst game on running against the Brazilians. Playing Brazil is as much psychological as technical.
In previous meetings, Brazil have beaten Germany 12 times to only 4 losses. And in important tournaments, Germany have never beaten Brazil. Now I know that Germany are probably the toughest team mentally, but the Brazilians and Italians are the two teams that the Germans seem to go cold against. I don’t expect this time to be any different even though Thiago and Neymar will miss this one.
2. Argentina Vs Holland: Will not predict this match
Holland are the one team that have done it all this world cup. 3 times, they have come from behind. They have demolished the world champ. They have outplayed a very Good team (Chile), they have come from behind in the dying moments (mexico) and survived a penalty shootout against a very good team and Goalkeeper (Costa Rica/Navas). They look more like champions than any other team. That being said, the last two matches could have well drained them. A penalty shootout and a last minute win can be too much excitement and can drain you. They might just have nothing left in the tank against Argentina. Had they beaten CR easily, they might have been in better shape. But there is the danger that their nerves might be shot. They have had more excitement than any other team in this WC.
Argentina on the other hand, have never had to come from behind. They have lead on every occasion. They have never had to claw back. What happens if the Dutch go ahead? But they have that guy, Messi. I just cannot bring myself to predict an Argentine Defeat. I just can’t think raionally about this match the way I can think about the others. This is what we call the Fan’s Dilemna. Maybe because I like Messi so much, it is so easy for me to see their flaws. Maybe I am a pessimist at heart. Always waiting for the inevitable collapse of my favorite team. Seeing Germany demolish Argentina in the last cup via their swift counterattacks just broke my heart.
For Argentina it is absolutely essential that they not concede an early goal. Else they are finished.
Okay, so my first prediction to go wrong was Brazil beating Germany. And Boy was I wrong. So wrong. So far I’ve got 8 predictions right out of 9. Time to analyse Argentina Vs Germany
1. Germany advantages
a. Better attack
b. Better Goalkeeper
c. Better and more Fluid teamwork
d. Extra day rest and a reasonably easy match against Brazil. So better rested
e. Recent Domination of Argentina
2. Argentina Advantages
a. Better Defense
b. Lionel Messi
c. European teams do not generally win outside Europe.
a. if Germany goes 1 up, Germany wins. They will simply shut shop and in the last minutes of the 2nd half, they will do those counter-attacks and just annihilate Argentina like in 2010.
b. If Argentina goes 1 up, it is 80-20 in favor or Argentina.
c. If it goes to extra time, it is 70-30 in favor of the Germans. The Germans have had more rest remember?
b. If it goes to Penalties, Germany wins: Germany has never lost on Penalties in a world cup. Argentina have lost only once in penalties in a world cup, in 2006, to you guessed it, Germany!
Basically this is a Great Team Vs Great Individual scenario. The Great team usually wins.
My verdict: Germany beats Argentina
Let’s evaluate the odds.
1. Germany goes 1 up: 40%
2. Argentina goes 1 up: 40%
3. 0-0 at halftime: 20%
German chances to win in regulation time: 40% + 0.25 * 40% = 50%
Argentine chances to win in regulation time: 30%
Still even after regulation time: 20%
If it does come to extra time
1. German chances to win in extra time: 60% (rest factor comes into play)
2. Argentine chances to win in extra time: 20%
3. 0-0 at the end of extra time: 20%
German chances to win within extra time = 50% + 0.2 * 60% = 62%
Argentine chances to win in extra time = 30% + 0.2 * 20% = 34%
Still even after extra time: 4%
German chances to win on penalties: 100% (extra rest + mental toughness)
Total German winning chances = 66%
Argentine chances = 34%
So a 2:1 odds in Germany’s favor are what I am calling.