Round 4: Sweet 16 for Meach and Gordon


Gordon Howes came from nowhere to win a tricky round four of Predikta with 15 points thanks to England’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory against Colombia.

A perfectly-placed banker on the 1-1 draw against the South Americans ensured Gordon pipped Alex Golunov and Dave Ormesher who went for 2-1 wins to Colombia and Gareth Southgate’s men respectively.

Meach Meachington also had another great week as he took control of the overall leaderboard with just three rounds to go.

Twelve points from the eight round of 16 matches ensured Meach went to the top of the standings with 54 points, two clear of Dave Willcox and three ahead of Graeme Halkerston.

Paul McCormack’s hopes of winning the England shirt signed by Beckham, Rooney, Gerrard, Owen and a host of others suffered a setback as he dropped from first to seventh with just six points from the eight games.

It would have been a miracle had anyone forecast France’s stunning 4-3 victory over Argentina in the first match of the knockout stage, but Aisling Murray, Bill Finck, Kala Staples, Kanat Mady, Paul Cunningham and Rebecca Sweeney all played their bankers on a one-goal margin of victory for the 1998 champions to lead with four points.

Bill and Paul led the way on Saturday night with seven points following Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over Portugal which was the second most popular prediction for that match behind a 2-1 win for Cristiano Ronaldo’s crew.

Matt No Longer and Yanish Arnachellum tied for fifth at this stage as the only two players to stick their bankers on a 2-1 Uruguay win.

Gordon was one of only eight players to predict correctly the 1-1 draw between Spain and Russia, the first of three matches which ended in a penalty shootout and a scoreline which sent him to the top of the table with eight points, one clear of Bill and Paul.

Russell Bathgate moved into the top 10 at this point with two spot-on predictions despite forgetting to predict on the France-Argentina match.

With 92% of you going for Croatia to beat Denmark it was no surprise that the leaderboard changed very little at the midway point of the round after the 1-1 draw in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. A 2-0 win for the Balkans side was the second most popular prediction of what proved to be a difficult round.

However, the leaderboard got a massive shake-up with Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Mexico at Samara Arena. Meach and Steve Warrington tied at the top with 11 points as part of the 27% who went for that scoreline they were in the 5% of players who played their bankers on it.

Alex, Dave Ormesher, Benzi and Clueless The Spooner also picked up six points which helped secure top-10 places for the round, but this week’s winner Gordon actually went for a Mexico victory which meant he slipped off the leaderboard.

Scott Lang was the only player to nail Belgium’s stunning 3-2 comeback victory over Japan which maant Meach and Steve remained at the summit on 12 points. The most popular prediction for that game was a 2-0 win for Belgium.

Most of us would have laughed at Bradley Potter, Peter Henshaw and Sandip Patel for predicting a 2-0 win to Japan but 52 minutes into the game they were all heading for three points until Jan Vertonghen started a remarkable recovery.

Alex nailed Sweden’s victory over Switzerland to jump to the top of the leaderboard with 14 points  although he only led Dave via the Separata rules. One in five of you were on a 1-0 victory which was the most popular prediction for that game followed by a 1-1 draw.

With one match remaining Gordon wasn’t even in the top 10 but he won the round thanks to reserving his banker on the 1-1 draw between England and Colombia.

Gordon was in the 5% to nail the scoreline and one of three – Daniel Williams and Will Hayler were the others – to pick up six points on a match in which most of you fancied a 2-1 win for England.

Congratulations Gordon for an excellent performance and to Meach for consistent high scoring. There’s still a long way to go though and Gilad Felcher, Marc Canning, Hafiz Sorathia and Paul McCormack are all just three points off Meach’s lead.

Here’s a rundown of how the week went:

Round 4 prediktions

France 4-3 Argentina (No correct predictions)
Uruguay 2-1 Portugal (19%)
Spain 1-1 Russia (Eight correct predictions)
Croatia 1-1 Denmark (2%)
Brazil 2-0 Mexico (27%)
Belgium 3-2 Japan (One correct prediction)
Sweden 1-0 Switzerland (20%)
Colombia 1-1 England (5%)

Six correct results

Alex Golunov

Three correct scorelines

Gordon Howes, Dave Ormesher, David Dallas, Neill Johnstone and possibly others!

Ten or less spot-on prediktions

1 – Belgium 3-2 Japan – Scott Lang

8 – Spain 1-1 Russia – Andrew McBrearty, Anonimo, CK Aplin, Gordon Howes, James Barbett, Justin Cernis, Mark Gennoe and Russell Bathgate

Top six prediktions of round 4

France 2-1 Argentina (41%)
Colombia 1-2 England (40.4%)
Croatia 2-0 Denmark (40.1%)
Belgium 2-0 Japan (38%)
Spain 2-0 Russia (37%)
Brazil 2-1 Mexico (30%)

Quarter-finals preview

The World Cup quarter-finals get under way at 3pm on Friday when Uruguay take on France, before Brazil and Belgium clash in Kazan. We reckon there are a few Belgium fans still muttering about Adnan Januzaj’s wonder goal against England. Thanks Adnan! On Saturday afternoon, England take on Sweden, before the last eight ties conclude with Russia’s encounter with Croatia.

Uruguay v France (Fri 3pm): Despite France having never beaten Uruguay they go into the game as hot favourites to reach the semi-finals. The sides played out 0-0 draws in the group stages of the 2002 and 2010 World Cups and of their six meetings four have finished goalless.

PSG’s teenage striker Kylian Mbappe was the star of the show in France’s impressive and thrilling 4-3 victory over Argentina in the round of 16 and his pace will be a big concern to a Uruguay team that could be without one of their best players. Edinson Cavani scored both of Uruguay’s goals in the 2-1 win against Portugal but limped off with a calf injury late on and is doubtful. France look stronger on paper but you never know at this World Cup.

Brazil v Belgium (Fri 7pm): Belgium have never beaten a South American team during the knockout stage of the World Cup nor have they ever scored a goal, but they have won all their games in Russia and there is optimism that this golden generation could cause an upset by beating the favourites to win the tournament.

Belgium booked their place in the quarter-finals for the second successive time by coming back from two goals down to beat Japan 3-2. Nacer Chadli scored in the final seconds of stoppage time to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Brazil have won three of their four games 2-0 and have conceded just once at the finals to Switzerland in their opening game, but this will be their toughest test yet.

Sweden v England (Sat 3pm): England put their fans through the wringer with their penalty shoot-out victory against Colombia on Tuesday night and it should be another close encounter on Saturday afternoon. England have won just one of their eight competitive meetings with Sweden, ending their hoodoo in their last match at Euro 2012 when Danny Welbeck scored the winner in a 3-2 victory.

Sweden have kept three clean sheets in their four games and their run to the finals suggest they will be tough to beat. The Swedes beat France in finishing runner-up in their group and then went on to eliminate Italy in the play-offs. There are no stars in this team and we reckon a single goal or penalties may settle the outcome.

Russia v Croatia (Sat 7pm): Both teams qualified for the quarter-finals with penalty shoot-out victories although Russia caused the biggest shock by eliminating Spain who had been joint favourites to win the tournament. As well as Russia have done so far they are a limited team and may decide to play to their defensive strengths that brought them success against the 2010 champions in the previous round.

Croatia were one of three teams to get out of the group stage with maximum points but they looked tired as the game wore on against Denmark who took the game to penalties thanks to Kasper Schmeichel saving Luka Modric’s spot-kick towards the end of extra time.

Russia have never beaten Croatia in three attempts, sharing goalless draws in Euro 2008 qualifying which they followed with a 3-1 defeat in a friendly three years ago.

If you had to twist our arms we’d say the semi-finalists will be France, Belgium, Croatia and England (extra time or penalties), but we have been known to be wrong! Make sure you get your predictions in before Friday’s 3pm kick-off. Best of luck to you all!