Spartan Soccer World Cup Face-Off

San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University men’s and women’s soccer coaches Gary St. Clair and Dave Siracusa have offered up their insights into the four quarterfinal-round matches of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, to be played on Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1.

With the two coaches picking a different winner in each game, check back early next week to see who was right and who was wrong, and also see what they have to say about the semifinal match-ups.

Germany vs. Argentina, Friday, June 30, 8:00 a.m. PDT
Gary St. Clair’s Pick: Argentina

“This should really be the best game of all. My thought all along was that if Brazil can’t win it, that there are a number of teams that might, but Argentina was the team I had predicted. It should be a great game between two very different teams with different styles. I’ll stick with Argentina.”

Dave Siracusa’s Pick: Germany
“Germany is the host country. They are playing great and scoring lots of goals. Since their first game of the tournament, they have really shored up the back line, which was probably their weakest spot heading in. They are big, strong, fast, skilled and at home.”

Italy vs. Ukraine, Friday, June 30, 12:00 p.m. PDT
Gary St. Clair’s Pick: Ukraine

“Italy does not look like a team that is capable of winning this World Cup. Ukraine has guys that can score some goals, like (2004 European Player of the Year) Andriy Shevchenko, who knows the Italians well. It would be a bit of an upset, but I’ll take Ukraine.”

Dave Siracusa’s Pick: Italy
“Ukraine will have a tough time scoring against them. I think it will be 1-0 Italy. They will score one and sit back and keep Ukraine scoreless. Italy has one of the best defenses in the world. The one weapon that Ukraine has, Andriy Shevchenko, they have seen on a weekly basis for years (as a member of Italian Serie A powerhouse AC Milan since 1999). They know what to expect from him. All the (Italian) players know him. It is not going to be a surprise.”

England vs. Portugal, Saturday, July 1, 8:00 a.m. PDT
Gary St. Clair’s Pick: Portugal

“The most improved team in the tournament is Portugal. They have a very good coach (in Luiz Felipe Scolari), who understands the importance of defense. England has not been playing well. I’ll take Portugal.”

Dave Siracusa’s Pick: England
“I think that England is the strongest team at the World Cup, equal to Brazil. Portugal is hurting, with injuries and a couple of red-card suspensions (from the previous game). I think that this will be a 1-0 game as well.”

Brazil vs. France, Saturday, July 1, 12:00 p.m. PDT
Gary St. Clair’s Pick: Brazil

“This is the time that Brazil really starts playing well, and I think they will win this game.”

Dave Siracusa’s Pick: France
“I’m picking the French to win. I just can’t tell you why. It’s nothing based in reason. I always want to see Brazil lose. They are the favorite to win, and we tend to root for the underdogs. I’m predicting a 3-2 result in favor of France, with Thierry Henry scoring in overtime to win it.”