All eight teams that won their groups also made it into the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, with four Europeans (Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium), three South Americans (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia) and one team from Central America, Costa Rica.
The average of goals and overall level, as expected, dropped and slowed down. We had a total of 18 goals in 8 matches, as we reach a total of 154 goals in 56 matches played, an average of 2.75 per match.
Brazil 1 Chile 1 (3-2 after penalty kicks): Who was better in the match? Brazil took the lead first through David Luiz in the 18th minute but Alexis Sanchez equalized in the 32nd minute to make things nice and tense for the rest of the match. While Chile players still had their strength, their pressure made Brazil look embarrassing. The moment that pressure stopped, we started seeing some things from Hulk and Neymar, although it wasn’t enough to deny us some penalty kicks. Willian and Hulk missed for Brazil, but Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez were stopped by Julio Cesar before Gonzalo Jara struck the post and sent his team home.
Colombia 2 Uruguay 0: Probably the most one sided of all matches at this stage, as a weak and Suarez-Less Uruguay side couldn’t contend with James Rodriguez and a Colombian team that made it through to the quarterfinals for the first time ever, as Rodriguez scored twice, including the best goal of the tournament.
Netherlands 2 Mexico 1: Mexico complained after the match about the referee, but it was their manager switching his tactics and using a defensive approach that lost them the match. Mexico took the lead through Giovani dos Santos in the 48th minute, but he took him and Oribe Peralta off, not leaving Mexico with much to fend with if things got complicated. And they did. Wesley Sneijder equalized with two minutes remaining and Arjen Robben drew a penalty kick out of Rafa Marquez in the 94th minute, which Klaas Jan Hunterlaar converted.
Costa Rica 1 Greece 1 (5-4 after penalty kicks): In short? Theofanis Gekas was the only one to miss a penalty kick in the shootout, sealing Greece’s fate. Long story? Keylor Navas made some incredible saves in extra time as Costa Rica, with 10 men for most of the second half, were able to hang on in the final 30 minutes. Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring but a 91st minute goal from Sokratis made things a bit more interesting for a while longer.
France 2 Nigeria 0: Nigeria had plenty of reasons to feel hard done by the referee, Mark Geiger of the United States, as his crew disallowed a goal by Emenike early on that should have been allowed to stand and also didn’t send of Blaise Matuidi for a terrible foul in the second half. France controlled the match and eventually got what they were looking for with a late goal from Paul Pogba and an own goal off of Joseph Yobo.
Germany 2 Algeria 1: Two European powers got rid of the African nations in one day. Germany struggled with the Algerian counter attacking scheme for 90 minutes, but Andre Schurrle striking two minutes into extra time changed the match, with Mesut Ozil getting a goal in the 120th minute before a meaningless one from Algeria in injury time.
Argentina 1 Switzerland 0: More extra time, another dull match of football. It ended with Lionel Messi breaking loose through the middle to set up Angel di Maria for another weak shot, but this time finally beating Benaglio to put Argentina in the quarterfinals.
Belgium 2 United States 1: Extra time made up for the lack of goals we saw in the first 90 minutes, although it wasn’t a bad match. Tim Howard put on an epic performance as his defense was beaten time and time again by the fast Belgium attack. Eventually, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne managed to give Belgium an edge they almost lost – a goal from Julian Green and a few more close calls that weren’t converted.
1. James Rodriguez (Colombia) – 5 goals
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil), Thomas Muller (Germany) – 4 goals
3. Enner Valencia (Ecuador), Robin van Persie (Netherlands), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Karim Benzema (France), Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) – 3 goals
France vs Germany
Brazil vs Colombia
Argentina vs Belgium
Netherlands vs Costa Rica