Spain Bomb Out? – World Cup Predictions for the Round of 16

World Cup ball on a plinth before a match featured in World Cup predictions

The World Cup group stage is over, and we enter the dreaded knockout stage, where a single loss can eliminate a global giant from the competition. See Last Word on Football’s World Cup predictions for a hotly anticipated round of 16.

World Cup Predictions for Round of Sixteen

USA vs Netherlands

Joe Blackburn: 1-0

Joseph Howes: 2-2 (p)

Jamie Rooke: 3-1

Jordan Hackett: 2-1

Dan Hepburn: 0-2

The USA come into this match on quite a strong run of form, conceding only one goal in the entire group stage – no side has conceded fewer. They meet the Netherlands and Cody Gakpo, who brings an attacking threat like few others. Defensive solidity and midfield power can win the day here, with a slim USMNT victory.

Joe Blackburn

Argentina vs Australia

Joe Blackburn: 3-0

Joseph Howes: 3-0

Jamie Rooke: 2-0

Jordan Hackett: 4-0

Dan Hepburn: 3-1

Argentina have grown into this tournament after a first match embarrassment against Saudi Arabia, with a midfield restructure in the match against Poland leading to complete and utter dominance. On the other hand, Australia look to counter, bouncing out from the back and striking their opponents by surprise. In spite of the fact no opponent of Australia has retained a clean sheet against them, this feels like an Argentina win. 3-0.

Joe Blackburn

Croatia vs Japan

Joe Blackburn: 1-2

Joseph Howes: 1-2

Jamie Rooke: 2-3

Jordan Hackett: (p) 1-1

Dan Hepburn: 2-1

Japan defied the odds and topped a group that had both Germany and Spain in, with their only defeat of the group stages coming against Costa Rica. A shock comeback, and a somewhat controversial goal, against Spain on the last game of the group flipped Group E on its head. Zlatko Dalic’s side, however, are unbeaten so far in the competition, winning once and drawing on one occasion. I think Croatia’s previous international showings just edge it for me, with their experienced midfield being the all-important difference. 2-1.

Dan Hepburn

Brazil vs South Korea

Joe Blackburn: 2-1

Joseph Howes: 2-0

Jamie Rooke: 3-1

Jordan Hackett: 3-0

Dan Hepburn: 2-0

Brazil look strong in this World Cup, opening the tournament by hammering Croatia before moving on to another fairly comfortable win against Switzerland. However, there are some weaknesses on the break, as exposed by a loss to Cameroon. That’s exactly how South Korea will look to attack, and Son Heung-Min will take full advantage. Brazil are still the favourites, but likely won’t make it through unharmed.

Joe Blackburn

England vs Senegal

Joe Blackburn: 3-1

Joseph Howes: 2-0

Jamie Rooke: 3-0

Jordan Hackett: 3-1

Dan Hepburn: 4-2

England come out of the group stage having scored the most goals, gained the most points and looked incredibly impressive. The tournament management from Gareth Southgate is on full display, and Senegal could struggle with this. In spite of a highly structured defence, a single England breakthrough could shatter the floodgates. 3-1 to England.

Joe Blackburn

France vs Poland

Joe Blackburn: 2-0

Joseph Howes: 0-1

Jamie Rooke: 2-0

Jordan Hackett: 2-0

Dan Hepburn: 1-0

France were looking dominant throughout the majority of the group stage, with Kylian Mbappe absolutely flying. The only flaw in Les Bleus’ armour was a late loss against Tunisia, with an almost entirely rotated side. Meanwhile, Poland looked absolutely lost against Argentina, and very nearly got through on their disciplinary record. This is fairly simple as World Cup predictions go, with France winning 2-0.

Joe Blackburn

Morocco vs Spain

Joe Blackburn: 3-2

Joseph Howes: 1-3

Jamie Rooke: 0-1

Jordan Hackett: 1-2

Dan Hepburn: 1-3

The Spaniards lost their most recent international meeting with Japan in quite tremendous fashion, but this does not overshadow that they have been one of the most comfortable teams in Qatar, with their midfield running the show. Morocco, like Japan, won their more than complex group and only conceded one goal in three matches meaning they will be no easy feat. Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has two goal involvements in his World Cup account so far and will be eager to find the back of the net against a very solid Spain outfit. It may be the obvious pick but I fancy Spain to edge the affair, 3-1.

Dan Hepburn

Portugal vs Switzerland

Joe Blackburn: 1-1 (p)

Joseph Howes: 2-0

Jamie Rooke: 1-2

Jordan Hackett: 1-0

Dan Hepburn: 1-2

On paper, Portugal have it all. A global superstar in his final tournament, a squad brimming with emerging talent from across Europe’s top leagues and the motivation to push on. However, it isn’t materialising. Switzerland have enough skill to take advantage of a somewhat vulnerable Portugal, but only on penalties. The margins are very fine at this stage of the tournament.

Joe Blackburn

Last Word on Football recognise Qatar’s human rights abuses and instances of corruption taking place throughout the nation and in the background of the World Cup. Learn more about some of the issues surrounding the World Cup here.

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