Resisting the urge to go chalk (the most likely outcome) to have a little bit more fun and rooting interest in some underdogs.
But first, there are still two games where I can’t get myself to pick against the favorite:
For the upsets, I have:
Croatia is likely going to back it in pretty tight defensively, but Brasil’s attack is too strong and will still find holes. Croatia will try to get their attack on the counters, but they don’t have the fire power and speed needed to breakthrough like Belgium did in the last cup against a Brasil team that was missing Casemiro.
France and England should hopefully be an exciting game with so much firepower on both ends. I can see both of them really going for it, which will result in the team with the best striker in the world getting plenty of opportunities.
While Morocco were able to hold off Belgium from scoring, I don’t see the same thing happening here and Portugal, after their terrific Round of 16 performance, will find a way to score against the stalwart Morocco defense. So for Morocco to have a shot, they will need to find ways to score. If they can pull that off and find the back of the net, it’s anyone’s game in PKs.
As good as Messi and Argentina are, I think Netherlands are a better overall team, despite their lower world rankings. With Depay up front and van Djik holding it down as the worlds best center-back, they will take their time and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. For Netherlands to pull it out, tt will require someone like de Jong to have one of their best games, as someone who can keep Messi in-check in the midfield and also create opportunities for Depay, Gakpo, and Dumfries moving forward.
All of that, I believe will result in a Semifinals of: