What a fun way to end November and start December. The group stage provided a lot of information and who has the best chance to make a deep run and give teams headaches. While many of the 16 teams knocked out showed promise and fight, the remaining 16 were better and deserved to advance to round two. From here on out, there are no draws nor points given from ties. Every round will be elimination, meaning overtime and shootouts/penalty shots will decide winners. Before picks are made, the numbers are for who finished at the top two in each group, and the letters are from the group each team was in. Here are the predictions for which eight teams advance to round three.
1A Netherlands v. 2B United States
The round of 16 kicks off with the eighth ranked team in the world versus a resurgent U.S. squad. The injuries to star Christian Pulisic and a red hot first round for the Netherlands makes this an easy choice.
Prediction: Netherlands advances 3-1
1B England v. 2A Senegal
The more interesting match between groups A and B. England is a favorite to make the finals but Senegal gave both Ecuador and Netherlands problems (despite different results against both). Questions about Senegal’s finishes against top opponents will loom because England is not the team to play conservative against the last 15 minutes of a close game.
Prediction: England advances 3-2
1C Argentina v. 2D Australia
Talk about lopsided on paper. Of course, you could say the same when Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia in round one. Australia is confident winning two games in a row but Argentina and captain Lionel Messi should play on a level the Outback only faced versus France in the group stage.
Prediction: Argentina advances 3-0
2C Poland v. 1D France
Kylian Mbappe is on pace to be the Most Valuable Player of the games while Roman Lewandowski has struggled outside of a complimentary goal against Saudi Arabia. France is on a mission to repeat.
Prediction: France advances 4-1
1E Japan v. 2F Croatia
The 2018 World Cup runner-ups can breathe relief knowing they won’t have to worry about a Spanish offensive barrage. They can’t do what every other team in Group E did and dismiss Japan even if ball possession is around 80%. Croatia’s defense improved late in the group stage and the offense is ready to make another deep run.
Prediction: Croatia advances 4-2
2E Spain v. 1F Morocco
Regardless of who wins, this is a bitter rivalry. The winner will have bragging rights for years if not decades to come. Morocco’s impressive shutout streak ended because of an own goal against Canada. However Spain’s inconsistency the longer the tournament goes has repercussions. This will be a fun game regardless of who wins.
Upset Prediction of the second round: Morocco advances 2-1
1G Brazil v. 2H South Korea
Probably the most lopsided match of the second round. Brazil had nothing to lose in their last game in their loss against Cameroon and still held the nation to one goal. South Korea had a thrilling first round and should be proud they made it this far.
Prediction: Brazil advances 6-1
2G Switzerland v. 1H Portugal
Despite Portugal’s dominant group stage, Switzerland has looked the better team going back to last year’s UEFA matches. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them knock out the winner of group H due to better scoring depth and less drama.
Prediction: Switzerland advances 3-1
Group stage predictions record: 12-4
1 thought on “2022 World Cup Round of 16 Predictions”
It was a great World Cup this year. I’m not even a football fan and even I got wrapped up in it, especially hoping for Morocco to do well. Argentina were fantastic as was France.
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