Round 2 review: World in motion for Paul

Harry Kane

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup with a 6-1 rout of Panama and it was double celebration for Paul McCormack who won the second round with 20 points to go top of Predikta.

Four correct scorelines, including a banker on Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Costa Rica, meant Paul won round two by a point from Meach Meachington, Carl Weekes, David Devine, Masom Rashid and Graeme Halkerston.

Paul also leads the overall competition with 34 points, one clear of Elhen Shmailov and two ahead of round one winner Karen Myers.

We also had our first clean sweep with Ali Pourshariati going through the card with 10 correct results and 18 points which helped secure seventh place.

David Devine was our leader on Wednesday with seven points after playing his banker on Portugal to beat Morocco 1-0 and picking up a point from Spain’s 1-0 win against Iran.

Only 23 and 17 players respectively went for those scorelines and David maintained his fine start to the round by calling France’s 1-0 victory over Peru which was predicted by 12.6% of players including Graeme Halkerston who began the round by correctly forecasting all three opening games to start with nine points.

Congratulations go to Anastasia Nicholls as the only player to predict Croatia’s stunning 3-0 humiliation of Argentina, a result which put Beatriz Alonso in second place with nine points after going for the 1998 semi-finalists to cause an upset.

Graeme moved to the top of the standings at the halfway stage by picking up six points from Brazil’s dramatic 2-0 win against Costa Rica, the sixth most popular prediction of the round which also saw five players from the top 10 in banker heaven.

Ali and David Langle were among two of eight players to call Nigeria’s 2-0 win against Iceland with most of you favouring a 1-1 draw followed by a 1-0 win for Iceland. At this stage Graeme led with 15 points, two clear of Carl and David.

Belgium’s 5-2 win against Tunisia produced a blank from the Predikta crowd on Saturday although one player went close with a 5-1 prediction. Steve Marshall was Graeme’s nearest challenger with 14 points at this point, two off the leader on the Separata rules.

Mexico’s win against South Korea left us with a three-way tie at the top involving Carl, David and Paul on 16 points. A 2-1 win for El Tri was the third most popular prediction for that scoreline and called by 22% of you including Paul.

There have been few more dramatic matches than Germany’s victory over Sweden which came 10 seconds from the end of stoppage time.

Tony Kroos’ sensational free-kick gave the defending champions a 2-1 win which fired Paul to the top of the table as the only player of the three leaders to call that scoreline. The Three Lions – Kaytrina sealed a top-10 spot by playing her banker on a 2-1 victory which also moved her up to fourth in the overall table.

Only 14 players went for a result other than an England triumph but with no-one on a 6-1 victory Paul took the round two honours. Excellent work Paul!

Here’s a rundown of how the week went:

Round 2 prediktions

Portugal 1-0 Morocco (4%)
Iran 0-1 Spain (3%)
France 1-0 Peru (12.5%)
Argentina 0-3 Croatia (One correct prediction)
Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica (35.5%)
Nigeria 2-0 Iceland (Eight correct predictions)
Belgium 5-2 Tunisia (No correct predictions)
South Korea 1-2 Mexico (22%)
Germany 2-1 Sweden (35%)
England 6-1 Panama (No correct predictions)

Ten correct results

Ali Pourshariati

Four correct scorelines

Paul McCormack and Graeme Halkerston

Ten or less spot-on prediktions

1 – Argentina 0-3 Croatia – Anastasia Nicholls

8 – Nigeria 2-0 Iceland – Ali Pourshariati, David Langle, Jo-Ann Chenery, Marella S Murthy, Mohamed Boudguigua, Peter Halswell, Rachael Smith and Thiago

Top seven prediktions of round 2

Portugal 2-0 Morocco (45.6%)
Belgium 2-0 Tunisia (44.5%)
Iran 0-3 Spain (39.6%)
France 2-0 Peru (36.7%)
England 2-0 Panama (36.4%)
Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica (35.5%)
Germany 2-1 Sweden (35%)

Round 3 preview

Round three runs from Tuesday to Thursday so make sure you get your predictions in on time because we had around 50 players who missed the starting gun on Wednesday. We don’t want you to miss out on winning and England shirt signed by Beckham, Rooney Gerrard and others for the sake of a couple of missed predictions! Here’s a rundown of all the games:

Australia v Peru (Tue): Australia’s only chance of qualifying is to beat already eliminated Peru and hope France can do them a favour and defeat Denmark. Peru have been one of the most entertaining teams of the World Cup but have yet to score following back-to-back 1-0 defeats. The Socceroos have scored just twice, both from the penalty spot and they dominated Denmark in the second half of their 1-1 draw. Group C has been the lowest scoring of all the pools with just seven goals.

Denmark v France (Tue): France have already qualified for the knockout stage with six points but need to avoid defeat to Denmark to finish top of Group C. The Danes just need a point to qualify but they have lost six of their last seven encounters with France. However, a draw would effectively suit both teams so don’t be surprised if both teams take it easy on Tuesday.

Iceland v Croatia (Tue): These two teams met during the World Cup qualifying campaign with Croatia winning their home match 2-0 before Iceland gained revenge with a 1-0 victory which came courtesy of a last-minute goal. Croatia booked their place in the last 16 with an impressive 3-0 victory against Argentina and they are now seventh favourites to win the World Cup. Iceland must beat Croatia and hope Argentina defeat Nigeria by a low margin of victory.

Nigeria v Argentina (Tue): Argentina, the 2014 runners-up, have failed to deliver in Russia and five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi has been virtually anonymous. A win for Nigeria will guarantee their place in the next round for the second successive time but even a draw will suffice if Iceland fail to beat Croatia or win by a one-goal margin.

The sides met in a friendly in November when Nigeria fought back from two goals down to beat Messi-less Argentina 4-2 in Krasnador. The teams have met in three of the last four editions of the World Cup, Argentina winning on every occasion by a one-goal margin.

Mexico v Sweden (Wed): Despite winning both of their games against Germany and South Korea, the Mexicans still have not guaranteed their place in the last 16 for the seventh consecutive time at the World Cup finals. A draw will ensure they go through as group winners but defeat means they could miss out on goal difference if Germany beat South Korea.

South Korea v Germany (Wed): Germany clawed their way back into the tournament with an incredible last-gasp victory against Sweden despite the dismissal of Jerome Boateng eight minutes before the end of normal time. A win is likely to put Germany into the last 16 on goal difference but as long as they better Sweden’s result against Mexico they will advance. Germany should have too much for a South Korea team that relies heavily on Son Heung-min.

Serbia v Brazil (Wed): Serbia’s late lapse in concentration against Switzerland means they must beat Brazil to progress to the knockout phase. At 1-1 the Serbs would have been two points clear of the Swiss going into Wednesday’s match but instead they find themselves a point behind after allowing Xherdan Shaqiri a free run on goal from the halfway line.

Brazil could have been in a tricky spot but scored twice in injury time to see off Costa Rica and need just a draw against Serbia to go through.

Switzerland v Costa Rica (Wed): Switzerland are in a strong position to reach the last 16 after becoming the first team at the 2018 World Cup to win from behind in their 2-1 victory over Serbia. The Swiss have four points like Brazil and a win against eliminated Costa Rica will be enough to put them in the knockout stage for the third time in four successive appearances.

Senegal v Colombia (Thu): Colombia showed what they can do with a full complement of players on Sunday when they dismantled Poland 3-0 in Kazan. That victory leaves Colombia on three points, one behind both Japan and Senegal who they face on Thursday. Jose Pekerman’s side will be favourites after exhilirating performances from James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado.

England v Belgium (Thu): England’s stunning 6-1 win against Panama has put Gareth Southgate’s men level on points, goal difference and goals with Thursday’s opponents Belgium. The World Cup’s joint highest scorers have already qualified and much may depend on how they approach the game once they find out what happens to Germany the day before. Should the holders go through in second place it might be in England’s interests to lose to Belgium to avoid a potential quarter-final clash with Germany.

Now that we have summarised round two and given you a flavour of what to expect in the next set of matches it’s time to board the blue banner and make those predictions. Make sure you get them done before Tuesday’s 3pm kick-offs. Best of luck to you all!