Most of the slots played out as I thought. Biggest surprise to me was Serbia not beating Australia to go through. Close on its heels was Italy getting turned over by Slovakia. However, the big European teams recovered well enough as Germany, England and Spain all got through.
Players of the advancing teams so far:
Uruguay: Diego Forlan. Mexico: Gio Dos Santos (though I still haven’t figured out how Blanco is still getting it done – he’s a freak of nature).
USA: Landon Donovan (though I’m feeling Altidore in the last two games and of course Howard’s been a rock). England: Ashley Cole (slim pickings here).
Holland: Wesley Sneijder (but if it were impact per minutes played, it would be Elia). Japan: Keisuke Honda.
Brazil: Robinho. Portugal: Tiago (would have given it to Meireles if he hadn’t used his off foot to miss the chance against Brazil).
Paraguay: Team (though I’m partial to Nelson Valdez). Slovakia: Robert Vittek (wake up Hamsik – there’s a World Cup going on; almost gave this to Strba for being a true man and gutting out a major knee gash in the Italy game).
Argentina: Messi. South Korea: tie between Park Chu-Yong and Lee Chung-Yong (Park Ji Sung’s been good, but we expect that of him).
Spain: David Villa. Chile: Jean Beausejour (love that Alexis Sanchez though)
Teams that have shocked me by how well they have played and my dark horses for the tournament are Chile and Japan. Don’t be surprised if Chile pulls one on Brazil.
Players I’d buy today – Alexis Sanchez hands down and Ozil second. Sir Alex – these are the only two you need right now. Forget everyone else. Plus they’re both under 22 years old. Can’t ask for a better pair. Sanchez might just be the best dead ball dribbler in the tournament – Messi needs a rolling ball to do you. Sanchez can just juke you out of your socks by gyrating over a dead ball. Plus, he’s fast, aggressive and strong. Sign him up Fergie. And for anyone looking for a left winger – not United since they have Nani – I can’t believe they haven’t signed Beausejour. He plays for Club America – he should be in Europe.