Set-piece goal surge will slow
This World Cup has seen a surge of goals, about one in five of them from set pieces -- corner kicks, free kicks, any play that begins after the previous one was halted by the referee's whistle. That, though, is about to change.
As we enter the third round of group games and then the knockout round, teams are beginning to come together defensively and organized defenses can usually snuff out these chances, even as the teams trying to execute them get better in kind.
Brazil will shock the world
Brazil and Argentina were the bookmakers' pre-tournament favorites to reach the final. So far, neither has inspired much confidence it will fulfill expectations. And while there's a good argument that Brazil, like neighbors Argentina, will only get better in time, the hosts have a much more difficult road ahead.
Assuming they advance, which is no lock -- a shock loss to Cameroon could end their World Cup by Monday night -- the Brazilians will mostly likely play either Holland or Chile in their first elimination game. Pick your poison.
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