Aah, the knockout stages of the World Cup, with all the snappy, punchy energy and final-whistle finality that the name suggests. Someone has to win in every match now.
No room for any more dead rubbers, sleepy 0-0 draws or two teams settling for mutually beneficial qualification midway through the second half of their final group game and playing out the last 20 minutes of the match just passing it back and forth between each other around the centre circle. Jiminy Cricket, the latter part of yesterday’s Spain vs Chile match was an insomniac’s dream.
Anyway, all that’s behind us now. From this moment on, it’s do or die. Figuratively speaking, anyway. Actual deaths probably wouldn’t be in keeping with the spirit of the tournament. Uruguay and South Korea are the first teams looking to land the knockout punch, but we’re looking ahead to the evening kick-off.
Our focus today is on the last African nation still in the hat (it’s a really big hat), as Ghana take on the USA. Hardly a fair fight in economic terms, but what are the chances on the football pitch?
Here are today’s predictions from our panel:
- Dr Ian McHale, a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Salford: “Ghana should beat the USA.”
- David Williams, head of PR at Ladbrokes: “USA will beat Ghana.”
- Chris Day, goalkeeper for Stevenage FC: “2-1 to USA.”
- Laura Daligan, ‘psychic, artist and pin-up’: “With Ghana being the last African nation left in the tournament, I’m sensing national pride and the desire to achieve a memorable victory for the continent overwhelming any American opposition. So Ghana will win.”
So, an even split on our panel. These are just predictions, of course – what will the reality be? Why not add your comments and predictions below?
Remember: this is just for fun and all predictions are for entertainment only. Any mortgages lost or other sums squandered based on the information supplied are your own responsibility! And yes, I will keep mentioning this every day. Ain’t no one going to knock me out.
Incidentally, if you want to read our magazine feature on the science of football prediction, I can heartily recommend it. If you’re not much of a reader, wear your eyeballs out on the accompanying football predictions video.