Phil Brown on the World Cup: 'Squeaky bum time' for World Cup hopefuls

Echo: Arjen Robben takes a drinks break Arjen Robben takes a drinks break

Mouth-watering ties lie ahead

THE World Cup has been amazing and incredibly exciting so far but I think it’s squeaky bum time now and I think the teams might start being a bit more cautious.

The group stages seem to have worked themselves out correctly and for the first time in a long time the eight group winners have worked their way through to the quarter finals.

Looking at the last eight there are some mouth-watering ties about to take place.

I think Germany will get past France quite easily though and I have been very impressed by them so far.

With Brazil being at home I think they will have too much for Colombia but the game between the Netherlands and Costa Rica will be much closer.

You would probably fancy the Netherlands to go through but Costa Rica have been the surprise package so far and they could well go even further in the competition.

However, I’m backing the Netherlands and in perhaps my biggest shock I’m also going for Belgium to get past Argentina.

I haven’t been that impressed by Argentina so far and they only just scraped through against Switzerland in the second round.

You have to admire the way they managed to find a way to win the game but I think Belgium will be able to win this one.

In fact, I think they will get through to the final and I think Brazil will get there too.

I also think more of the matches will be decided in extra time and penalties which is great for the neutral but it’s certainly not very good for the managers and coaches involved!

 

Water's all the fuss about?

I’VE seen plenty of ex-professionals making comments about the water breaks at the World Cup but for me they’re definitely needed.

In that kind of climate, you have to be careful and it’s been a warm start to our pre-season training in Southend so we’ve been doing the same and having regular water breaks.

I think they have been introduced now with the World Cup in Qatar in mind, if that does actually go ahead of course!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the matches were played as three 30 minutes periods out there.

I also think the powers that be are slowly trying to make football in to a summer sport, just like they did with rugby league, so that’s also going to be something interesting to keep an eye on.

 

Diver or not, Robben's fantastic

ARJEN Robben continues to divide opinion at this World Cup but he’s a hell of a player and I think you have to admire his ability.

He moves around at great speed and has made huge progress since he was at Chelsea quite a few seasons ago now.

He has benefitted hugely from playing in Germany and, unlike some other great players such as Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, he’s very much still the driving force behind a nation still in the competition.

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