FIFA World Cup 2014 Predictions Part 2: Predicting the Round of 16 Winners

Yesterday, this publication started a prediction for the opening round of the World Cup. With the teams already selected from the group stage here is a look at how the first round of knockouts would unfold in this scenario.

To recap, Brazil and Mexico come out of the group one in that order. Spain and Netherlands progress from Group B while Colombia and Greece get out of their group. In Group D, Italy and Uruguay move on while France and Ecuador are the teams to get through Group E. Group F sees Argentina and Nigeria as the winners while Group G has Germany and Portugal as round of 16 participants. Meanwhile Russia and Belgium move on from Group H. So here are the matchups and predictions.
Brazil vs. Netherlands (Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up)
Brazil would have a tough challenge in the first knockout round. In 2010 the Dutch defeated Brazil in the quarterfinals by the score of 2-1. The two sides are vastly different now. Brazil is no longer a defense-first side as it was under Dunga. Felipe Scolari is aggressive and quickly adaptable to any opponent. The Dutch are no longer as complete a side as they were in 2010. The offense is as potent as ever with Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie leading the way, but the defense is young and inexperienced. This is a tough game but it is impossible to conceive of Brazil leaving the tournament so early in the knockout rounds. Look for a 2-1 or even 3-1 win for the host nation.
Spain vs. Mexico (Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up)
The two sides met in 2010 in what wound up being a 1-1 friendly draw. However, Mexico is still a team without a resolute identity. The wins over New Zealand may look great, but this team still does not have the talent pool that the Spaniards do. It is really hard to give Mexico a fighting chance in this one, especially with the solid overall team Spain possesses. Expect the defending champs to come away with a 1-0 win in this game and progress to the next round.
Colombia vs. Uruguay (Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up)
Colombia won 4-0 at home against Uruguay in late 2012 while the Uruguayans responded with a 2-0 win at home a few months ago. This will be a tough draw for either side, but one has to believe that the form of Luis Suarez will be the big different. The Liverpool superstar has been on fire all year long and should be primed for a big tournament. Uruguay wins 1-0.
Italy vs. Greece (Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up)
Italy had a few poor performances at the end of the qualifiers, but they had little interest in those matches after qualifying. Expect Italy's talent to overwhelm Greece if this were the matchup. Italy wins 3-0.
France vs. Nigeria (Group E winner vs. Group F runner-up)
France should be the favorite in this game, especially with such talent as Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri leading the charge. Nigeria is a good side, but has not been particularly steady on the big stage. In this scenario, France is easily the winner with a 3-0 victory.
Argentina vs. Ecuador (Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up)
One thing that is essential to note in this matchup is that both teams tied in both qualifying matches between them. Argentina however is the favorite on the big stage and should ultimately manage to find a way through this matchup. Ecuador has been suspect in recent months while the Lionel Messi-led squad has been playing relatively well overall. Argentina wins 2-1.
Germany vs. Belgium (Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up)
Both teams are filled with superstars but Germany is one of the favorites to go the distance in this tournament. Germany's experience should be the difference here ultimately; Belgium's lack of experience will likely betray the team and lead to its downfall in this matchup. Germany wins 2-0.
Russia vs. Portugal (Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up)
This would pit familiar foes against one another as both sides faced off in the World Cup qualifiers Group F. Russia won at home while Portugal returned the favor in Lisbon. This game will likely be decided by the play of Cristiano Ronaldo. The superstar was shutout in both games but was not play his best in either match. Look for the teams to go the distance in this one and probably decide the outcome on penalties. Fabio Capello's Russia manages the win.