7:30 AM- Netherlands vs. Denmark
Netherlands is the pick here. I would even consider making Netherlands a potential World Cup Winner, but I am not sold on their keeper situation and am not sure if their back line can hold up in the tensest moments. Denmark is a team with some promising young talents like Bendtner and Kjaer, but anything other than a Netherlands win would be a stunner. The Men in Orange are the pick here, and although Arjen Robben’s status is unknown, the Dutch are almost better off sitting him so he can rest up for the knockout stages.
Netherlands 3-1 Denmark
10:00 AM- Japan vs. Cameroon
I will admit to now knowing much about Japan except that they are well-organized and have a playmaker in Nakamura. Other than that it is a bit of a shot in the dark. However, Cameroon is a solid team that will probably be able to count on at least one goal from Samuel Eto’o. The Indomitable Lions are the pick over Japan if for no other reason than because they have more names I can recognize and identify as quality.
Japan 1-2 Cameroon
2:30 PM- Italy vs. Paraguay
I am on record of picking Paraguay to pull the upset here. I am a bit cautious after seeing a “weakened” German team annihilate Australia to pick against an aging Italian team, but I am going to stick to my guns. There is a peculiar history of holders getting upset in their opening matches the next year (Senegal v France in 2002 comes to mind) and Paraguay sets up nicely to do that. Their fragile striker Roque Santa Cruz will still be healthy for the first match at least, and Paraguay is not the type of team that will get frustrated by Italy’s constant defending. Prepare for an upset.
Italy 0-1 Paraguay