As we hurtle towards the end of the group stage, some are already calling the 2014 FIFA World Cup the year of the underdogs.
Judging by results thus far, the saying certainly holds true. The biggest shocker to date has been seeing defending World Cup Champions Spain eliminated before the knockout stages.
Meanwhile, on Sunday night, one could hear the Portuguese Bermudians’ collective sigh of relief from St. David’s to Dockyard, as they staved off elimination by seconds against the USA.
Here are some interesting facts and a few predictions for the most intriguing games remaining…
The Boateng half-brothers Jerome and Kevin-Prince went head-to-head for the second time at a World Cup as Germany took on Ghana on Saturday night and played to a 2-2 draw.
The pair was born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father. Defender Jerome chose to represent Germany, while midfielder Kevin-Prince opted to represent Ghana. While the same blood runs in their veins, it is reported the brothers refused to speak to each other for months building up to the World Cup and have not spoken so far during it.
The sibling rivalry on the pitch was also intense, Jerome stating ‘It’s every man for himself,’ while Kevin Prince claimed he would ‘play until bloodshed’.
Predictions: Germany’s final group game is tomorrow, where they go head-to-head with team USA. The two are currently tied on four points. The American’s have been impressive and determined to make some noise on the World Cup stage, and now need at least a tie against Germany in order to guarantee their spot in the Round of 16.
Ghana will take on Portugal on the same day, with both teams fighting for their World Cup lives. While the Americans can win the group with a victory, they could also advance to the Round of 16 with a draw versus Germany and a draw in the Ghana versus Portugal match. However, if Ghana or Portugal wins and there is a clear winner in the Germany versus USA game then it comes down to goal difference to determine second place.
The kid can kick
With a dramatic win over Russia, Belgium has yet to lose and are the only side from the last two groups to have clinched their place in the Round of 16. Their latest win came in the 88th minute when 19-year-old substitute Divock Origi became the seventh-youngest scorer in the history of the World Cup.
Prediction: Belgium’s final group game is also tomorrow versus Korean Republic. There’s little doubt they will walk away from group play with a perfect winning record and tons of momentum going into the Round of 16.
Watch out for the other remaining game in the group. Algeria have impressed many with their attacking play and take on a stuttering Russia, with a draw likely to be enough to qualify.
Follow Bobbi Singh on Twitter @sportschickca