Matchday 2 picks
South Korea 1, Ghana 1
Portugal 0, Uruguay 2

Matchday 3 picks
Ghana 1, Uruguay 1
South Korea 1, Portugal 2

With moments to go in Group H, Portugal’s race seems done. Cristiano Ronaldo’s final World Cup bound to end in ignominy as Ghana lead Uruguay and South Korea cling on to a point, chasing the goal that might just send them through anyway. Then Luis Suarez bites back, striking late to draw Uruguay level in Al Wakrah. Seconds later, Diogo Jota turns in from a corner and Portugal are somehow bound for the knockout stages.

Round of 16 picks

Senegal 2, United States 0
Argentina 1, France 2
Spain 2, Canada 0
Brazil 1, Portugal 1 (Brazil win on penalties)
England 2, Netherlands 1
Denmark 1, Poland 0
Belgium 1, Germany 3
Uruguay 0, Cameroon 1 (a.e.t.)

The USMNT’s round of 16 tie had been primed to bring with it an unwelcome reminder that what Berhalter needs to discover by 2026 is a forward of Sadio Mane’s quality and a goalkeeper of Edouard Mendy’s. Concacaf’s involvement in the World Cup ends soon after, Canada simply lacking the quality to quell a Pedri-inspired Spain, who look to be making commanding progress through the field.

There were, however, two African representatives in the last eight as Vincent Aboubakar struck in injury time to send Uruguay crashing out of one of the tenser round of 16 ties. The same could be said of Denmark’s win over Poland where Kasper Hjullmand’s side just about held their opponents at bay after Christian Eriksen’s early free kick.

The Seleção extend their unbeaten run from 12 yards out at World Cups, with Richarlison netting the winner.

And so ended the era of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the international stage. The sheer luck of the draw had sent Argentina to the toughest of ties, one that would have been worthy of the final.

Lautaro Martinez struck first for the Albiceleste, but the weight of French talent was too much for the Argentine rearguard to deny as Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe struck in the second half to keep Les Bleus’ underwhelming title defense alive.

Quarterfinal picks

Spain 0, Brazil 1 (a.e.t.)
Senegal 1, France 3
Germany 1, Cameroon 0
England 2, Denmark 0

Revenge for Euro 2020 is on Danish minds on Dec. Just like in 1990, it will be the Germans that they have to overcome.

Semifinal picks

France 2, Brazil 2 (Brazil win on penalties)
England 1, Germany 0

An iconic clash for the not-at-all-overselling-itself Lusail Iconic Stadium as France and Brazil take lumps out of each other across two hours of high quality fare in which Paris Saint-Germain teammates Mbappe and Neymar score in the first half. The latter keeps that form going into the shootout, denying Antoine Griezmann at the death.

After 56 years of hurt, could it really be coming home?

Third-place playoff pick

France 2, Germany 4

Final pick

Brazil 2, England 0

As is so often the way at major tournaments, the games on the way to the final act prove to be more compelling than the conclusion. With a day’s less rest, England look drained from their rearguard action against Germany.