An International Final Four: Predicting the Semifinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup


The Quarterfinal Round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa has come and gone, and only four nations remain in this worldwide tournament to crown the top team in soccer. The two days of the round were not without drama, including high-profile losses by Brazil and Argentina; two teams who many would’ve selected as potential World Cup champions going into the tournament.  And, despite poor early showings from European nations like France, Italy, and England, three of the final four remaining teams represent that continent: the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

Before I get to my predictions for the upcoming Semifinals matches, here’s a quick recap of the predictions I made for the Quarterfinal Round and what the actual results were.  It was definitely not a good set of predictions for me this time around, just barely saving an even .500 % picking rate.

  • Predicted: Brazil 3, Netherlands 1 – Actual Result: Netherlands 2, Brazil 1
  • Predicted: Uruguay 2, Ghana 1 – Actual Result: Uruguay 1, Ghana 1 (Uruguay 4, Ghana 2 on Penalty Kicks)
  • Predicted: Argentina 3, Germany 2 – Actual Result: Germany 4, Argentina 0
  • Predicted: Spain 3, Paraguay 0 – Actual Result: Spain 1, Paraguay 0

World Cup Knockout Round of 16 Prediction Results: 6-2

World Cup Quarterfinals Round Prediction Results: 2-2

Total World Cup Prediction Results: 8-4 (.667 %)

There will be a few rest days in South Africa before the Semifinals begin, and when we get to Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, the tournament will resume:

Game on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 2:30PM ET

Uruguay Flag VS. Netherlands Flag

Uruguay versus Netherlands

  • Winner plays in World Cup Final on Sunday, July 11th at 2:30PM ET.
  • Loser plays in Third Place Match on Saturday, July 10th at 2:30PM ET.

Very few people would’ve predicted that Uruguay would be the final South American team to keep their World Cup hopes alive in this tournament, but Diego Forlan has led his nation deep into the tournament thanks to a Round of 16 victory over South Korea and a Quarterfinal victory over Ghana.  A different Uruguayan, Luis Suarez, is perhaps most responsible for Uruguay’s advance to the Semifinals; it was his reactionary hand-ball on the goal line at the end of extra time in the Quarterfinal match against Ghana that helped push Uruguay through to Penalty Kicks.  While Suarez won’t be able to play in the Semifinals, without his actions Ghana would likely be in their place instead.  On the other side of the match, the Netherlands fell behind 1-0 early in their Quarterfinal game against Brazil but stormed back to tie the game on what was initially ruled a Felipe Melo own goal (which has since been awarded to Dutch player Wesley Sneijder) followed by a second Sneijder score later in the second half to defeat the tough Brazilian squad 2-1.  That win, combined with a sure-footed victory over Slovakia in the Round of 16, sees the Netherlands through to the Semifinals.  With the Netherlands triumphing over a squad predicted by many to at least reach the final, the thought of the Dutch falling to a surprise Uruguayan team seems unlikely.  It has been a good run for Uruguay, and they’ve done their nation proud, but they seem destined for the Third Place Game instead of a run to the Final.

Prediction: Netherlands 2, Uruguay 0.

Game on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 2:30PM ET

Germany Flag VS. Spain Flag

Germany versus Spain

  • Winner plays in World Cup Final on Sunday, July 11th at 2:30PM ET.
  • Loser plays in Third Place Match on Saturday, July 10th at 2:30PM ET.

Germany has been on a roll in the World Cup after an early 1-0 loss to Serbia in Group Stage play, putting together a win against England in the Round of 16 and a 4-0 domination of Argentina in the Quarterfinals to make their way to the Semifinals.  Miroslav Klose put in two goals for Germany in their rout of the Argentine on his way to being tied for second place for goals scored all-time at the World Cup.  Though Germany was a slow-starter, their recent performances have put them in a favored position regarding their chances of advancing to the World Cup Final.  Spain, on the other side of the pitch, have similarly overcome a rough early start—a 1-0 loss to Switzerland in Group Stage play—by defeating Portugal and Paraguay by back-to-back 1-0 score lines in the Round of 16 and Quarterfinal rounds.  Current 2010 FIFA World Cup scoring leader David Villa—with 5 goals on the tournament so far—has been personally responsible for the Spanish victories in their past two results.  The current European champions of soccer are now right on the doorstep of advancing to the World Cup Final and a chance to extend their dominance of the sport outside of their home continent.  As stated about so many of the Quarterfinal match-ups, this showdown between Germany and Spain would make a solid World Cup Final match this year.  Unfortunately for each side, they meet in the Semifinals and only one team can make it to the championship match.  Germany has had blowout wins, Spain has had nail-biters, and it would seem logical that the outcome of this Semifinal match will fall somewhere in-between.  Spain were my pre-World Cup pick to win the entire tournament, and as a result—despite the hot-footed German squad—I’m picking them to go through to the Final, leaving Germany to play in the Third Place Match.

Prediction: Spain 3, Germany 2.

My prediction ratio dropped precipitously from the Knockout Round of 16 to the Quarterfinals, but I’m hoping to return to good form with these Semifinal predictions.  Be sure to watch on Tuesday, July 6th and Wednesday, July 7th to see which teams will be playing for a consolation prize and who will be fighting for the World Cup!

Brian Parker - Born in Maine, a state with no professional sports team, Brian Parker is nonetheless a huge statistics nerd and fan of the NFL and NHL, with some passing interest in the MLB. Regional ties see him as a Patriots and Red Sox fan, though a childhood of watching Patrick Roy tend the net as a Montreal Canadien puts him on the opposite side of his fellow New Englanders for that NHL rivalry. Brian has both an M.A. and a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Maine. - Follow him on Twitter here - Visit his personal website

Post navigation

3 thoughts on “An International Final Four: Predicting the Semifinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

  1. 10/12 overall… it gets easier every round.

    Spain 2 – 0 Germany

    Holland 3 – 0 Uruguay

    In my ESPN bracket I picked England going all the way(*shakes head*) over Spain in the final… now I predict Spain will win it all.

  2. For the ESPN bracket, I had Brazil and Spain making the finals with Spain winning, so I still have feeble hopes alive as far as that's concerned. Don't know that Spain will defeat Germany very easily, but I can see a Netherlands-Spain final being probable.

  3. Germany is playing very well, but to be quite honest I'm not impressed by their exploits against England or Argentina. England never got it together, and the Argentine defenders have looked shaky all tournament. Spain hasn't been at their best, but in all of their games they have dominated possession, and they have enough good passers to not make the mistakes which the Germans thrive from. I expect them to take their time with possession and grind out a 1 or 2 goal victory. This all goes to crap if Germany manage to score an early goal….

Comments are closed.