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Group E and F final first round matches go today – here’s my call:

GROUP E – Denmark v Japan

Tied at 3 points each, this is the game for second place. Japan can advance with a tie or a victory, while Denmark needs a win to go through, based on goal differential. Can lesser-ranked Japan break through the Danes’ stodgy defence with their speed and organized attack? I think it will be enough to send Denmark home earlier than expected.

FINAL Denmark 1 Japan 1

Netherlands v Cameroon

It is possible for Netherlands to finish second in the group, but that’s only if they lose. They’ve never lost against an African team in the World Cup and that record stands at the end of day today. Cameroon will likely play substitutes as they are already eliminated from advancement. The Dutch keep clogging along.

FINAL Netherlands 2 Cameroon 0

GROUP F – Can you believe that it’s possible Slovakia and New Zealand could advance from this group? It’s possible, but it won’t happen…..

Paraguay v New Zealand

Paraguay tops the group and has been the best team overall in Group F. The Kiwis have surprised everyone so far tying the Italians and Slovakia, netting them 2 more points than expected at this stage in the tourney. Should Paraguay avoid looking past New Zealand they should win this one easily. New Zealand’s best hope is for a tie and and an upset by Slovakia versus Italy. I don’t see the all-whites getting that close.

FINAL Paraguay 2 New Zealand 0

Italy v Slovakia

If pride were to be the factor that determined victory in this match Slovakia would go through, and not the Italians. The reigning champs have looked more like chumps, garnering only ties in matches versus New Zealand and Paraguay. Slovakia need a win to advance, and given the way the two teams have played so far that result has strong possibilities. I’d love to see an upset here, and I suppose my result is an upset of sorts, but it won’t be enough to send Slovakia through. Italy has the experience and will do just enough to advance as the second seed, unless New Zealand bests Paraguay. Slovakia will have to be contented with a tie against the Azzurri as they exit South Africa.

FINAL Italy 1 Slovakia 1

My record: 7-8 to date

FLEAROY’S picks have gone missing? Better late than never:

PAR 1 NZ 0

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