The 2014 World Cup has been exciting and intense and it rages on with four matches on Wednesday afternoon, starting with two at 12:00 PM Eastern.
Moving on to the next round of soccer’s biggest stage is what’s on the line, so let’s break down each matchup and see how things might play out:
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran
Bosnia-Herzegovina is all but dead in this World Cup, but they can at least play the role of spoiler when they take on Iran on Wednesday afternoon. Iran, on the other hand, actually has slim life left in hopes of moving on to the next round. For that to happen, they’ll have to score their first goal of this tournament and hold off Bosnia-Herzegovina. The defense has been there throughout, as Iran has allowed just one goal in two contests, but their offense will need to show up if their run is going to last much longer.
Look for Iran to finally get a goal or two after focusing too much on defense through the first two matches. That is still unlikely to propel them forward, however, as they need help from Nigeria.
Pick: Iran, 2-1.
Nigeria vs. Argentina
Speaking of Nigeria, they will try to finalize their spot in the next round of the World Cup by beating or meeting a draw with Argentina. That won’t be easy, as the dominant Argentina aims to wrap up a complete 3-0 sweep in Group F.
Nigeria might have the ability to stick around a while in this matchup, but Argentina is the heavy favorite and one of the favorites to take a stab at the overall title. Don’t expect Nigeria to win this game, but don’t be too shocked if they edge out Iran to move on into the next round of play.
Pick: Argentina 3-1.
Honduras vs. Switzerland
The bottom two teams in Group E square off on Wednesday afternoon, and both are somehow alive in the race to advance to the second round. Honduras faces quite the uphill battle with zero wins in two games, while the Swiss have at least one win under their belt with a 2-1 win over Ecuador.
This is a tough match to predict given that these two teams battled under the same exact settings four years ago, and both were eliminated thanks to a draw. A lot depends on the other battle in this grouping, as an Ecuador win would eliminate both teams. With that said, an Ecuador draw or loss could push Switzerland forward if they beat Honduras, while Honduras needs a win and a loss from Ecuador.
For now, all we can focus on is today’s games, though, and the slight upper hand has to go to Switzerland. Their defense was exposed a bit in a bad 5-2 loss to France, but considering Honduras has scored one goal through two games, they have to have the edge.
Pick: Switzerland, 1-0.
Ecuador vs. France
Ecuador moves on with a win and could still have life even with a draw, while France is just about locked and loaded for the second round of the 2014 World Cup. It’s still an interesting set up, as a win over Ecuador on Wednesday afternoon would give France it’s first clean 3-0 sweep in a grouping since 1998.
France is the clear favorite here, as they’ve put their potent offense on fully display through the first two matches, piling on eight goals and allowing just two. Ecuador has put up a solid three in splitting their two games in Group E, but on paper, France appears to have the edge.
A France win would guarantee a trip to the next round, while Ecuador losing could cause quite a log jam with Switzerland and Honduras. That may be exactly what we end up seeing.
Pick: France, 3-2.