20 November: Qatar – Ecuador (Group A)
The hosts will not want to lose their first ever appearance on the World Cup stage, but winning will be too much to ask for. Our prediction: a draw.
Result: Wrong. Winning was indeed too much to ask for, but so was a draw. Ecuador won.
21 November: England – Iran (B)
Iran will have nothing to lose, England needs to jumpstart its World Cup run so will feel the pressure. A win might make them feel overconfident for the next two games though. Our prediction: England wins.
Result: Correct. England won and boosted their confidence. We’ll see what that does for the remaining two matches.
21 November: Senegal – Netherlands (A)
The two favorites for this group face each other on matchday 1. Netherlands will want to establish themselves as worthy contenders. Our prediction: Netherlands wins.
Result: Correct. Netherlands managed a win.
21 November: USA – Wales (B)
Wales will prove to be a tough opponent, but the USA’s more talented squad should prevail. USA wins.
Result: Wrong. The game was a draw.
22 November: Argentina – Saudi Arabia (C)
Our favorites for the World Cup, Argentina, will face a tough and well-organized opponent, but in the end they will find the goals required. Argentina wins.
Result: Wrong. To everyone’s surprise, Saudi Arabia did get the win against Argentina.
22 November: Denmark – Tunisia (D)
Denmark needs to win this one if they want to take the first step to qualifying for the next round. Considering their quality, they should be able to set aside Tunisia, although it might take some time to break through their defensive organization. Prediction: Denmark wins.
Result: wrong. The defense stood tall on both ends.
22 November: Mexico – Poland (C)
A crucial game in deciding who will get to go to the next round along with Argentina. Losing would mean a serious blow to any hopes and dreams of qualification. Predictible prediction for this match: a draw.
Result: correct. A draw was indeed all this game had to offer.
22 November: France – Australia (D)
An always enthusiastic Australia squad will want to take advantage of a France that is dealing with injury after injury. But normally France will have enough talent and quality at their disposal to take home the first 3 points. France wins.
Result: correct. An enthusiastic Australia did manage to get the first goal, but France’s speedy flanks proved too much to handle.
23 November: Morocco – Croatia (F)
Croatia will want to win their first game, in order to maximize their chances for finishing first in the group. Croatia wins.
Result: wrong. Neither team managed to break through the opponent’s defense.
23 November: Germany – Japan (E)
Germany are obviously favorites to go to the next round, but they are still searching a bit for their ideal lineup. Japan can profit of this fact. Our prediction: a draw.
result: wrong. Japan did profit, even more than I had expected as they managed to get the three points.
23 November: Spain – Costa Rica (E)
A game between Spanish-speaking countries is always interesting to watch, especially in this case where the Costa Rican underdog will always want to prove themselves against ‘mighty’ Spain. Expect a strong performance from Keylor Navas, Spain who are searching for their best shape and form, and a draw.
Result: wrong. Very wrong indeed. It appears Spain found the right form, and Costa Rica lost theirs, resulting in a landslide victory for truly mighty Spain.
23 November: Belgium – Canada (F)
Should prove to be either a very exciting game, or a very dull one. Depends on the form Romelu Lukaku is in. In any case we predict a win for Belgium, albeit a hard-fought one.
Result: correct. Though Lukaku remained out through injury, it was indeed an exciting game. With thanks to a strong Canada squad. Belgium triumphed through a stopped penalty by “the Wall” Courtois early in the match, and a goal scored at the end of the first half.
24 November: Switzerland – Cameroon (G)
This could be one of the best games to watch of the first matchday, from a neutral point of view. Potential for a lot of goals is present. End result? A win for Switzerland.
Result: correct. 1-0 for Switzerland. Not one of the best games to watch though.
24 November: Uruguay – Korea Republic (H)
This game could be a real tough one, with not a lot of goalscoring opportunities. The team that takes advantage of the little chances they get will take the 3 points. Which is Uruguay’s specialty. A win for them then.
Result: wrong. It was indeed a real tough match. Uruguay hit the post two times but failed to get the bounce of the ball, and thus did not take advantage of those opportunities. Which resulted in a 0-0 score.
24 November: Portugal – Ghana (H)
Portugal will know what their rivals for the number one spot in the group (Uruguay) have done already earlier today. They also will want to at least match their result. Won’t be easy, but Portugal will win.
Result: correct. Exactly as stated, it wasn’t easy but Portugal won.
24 November: Brazil – Serbia (G)
One of the games we look forward to the most, and probably a lot of other football fans as well. Could be a goal fest, on both ends. Whoever ends up scoring the most… Considering their offensive talent and quality, we predict a win for Brazil.
Result: correct. No goal-fest though, rather a duel of tightly organized teams hoping to get through one way or other. Brazil did, and they won.