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1. Germany — Yowza. They’ve scored four goals in three different games already, including twice in the knockout round (against England and Argentina, no less). Have been in a class of their own and a treat to watch. I severely underrated them but not picking them to win Group D, but I guess they didn’t run away with it in the first round. How they play as a team is incredible. They’re always willing to make that final pass to set up a teammate. A true collective.
2. Netherlands — The uber-productive midfielder Wesley Sneijder might be the MVP of the tournament so far, in my opinion. And now that Arjen Robben is healthy (when he stays on his feet), they definitely have a higher ceiling than before. The defense and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg have definitely exceeded expectations. Can’t let down against Uruguay after beating Brazil, can they?
3. Spain — My pick to win it is still alive, which is more than some prognosticators can say. Sadly La Furia Roja hasn’t looked hardly dominant. Fernando Torres is the scapegoat, but he does appear to have thrown things out of whack. Fellow forward David Villa has made up for it and is another World Cup MVP nominee. Still have the pedigree to make a run, especially with that awesome Xavi and Iniesta combo in the middle.
4. Uruguay — What a great run for the small country. Survived by the skin of their teeth in the quarterfinal against Ghana due to that infamous/notorious/genius/despicable intentional handball by Luis Suarez. Attack mate Diego Forlan — who also could be a World Cup MVP — has put the team on his back. They won’t be intimidated of the Oranje, I don’t think.