We have our teams that make the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. Only six from Europe (Netherlands, Greece, France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium), five from South America (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina), three from North & Central America (United States, Mexico, Costa Rica) and two from Africa (Nigeria and Algeria).
Four teams – Argentina, Belgium, Colombia and the Netherlands, made it through without dropping a single point. All three players leading the scoring chart with 4 goals each: Lionel Messi, Neymar and Thomas Muller, are also in the next stage.
Brazil vs Chile, Belo Horizonte, June 28
One of two pure South American clashes in the round of 16 with Brazil who finished first with 7 points in Group A, coming in as the favorites against Chile, getting six points in their second place finish of Group B.
Neymar with four goals so far in the tournament is Brazil’s top scorer, but he might be the only bright spot in a somewhat disappointing tournament for the Selecao so far, especially in their 0-0 draw against Mexico but also for most of their win over Croatia. Five time World Champions, Brazil have been to the round of 16 in every World Cup since moving to this system, and haven’t missed out on the quarterfinals since 1990. They beat Chile at this stage in 1998 and 2010.
For Chile, they have five different players with one goal. They looked very good in their wins over Australia (at least in the first half) and in the 2-0 stunner over Spain. On their last two visits to the World Cup (1998, 2010) they made it into the round of 16, but haven’t gone through, twice losing to Brazil.
Colombia vs Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro, June 28
The second South American clash took a strange twist as Uruguay will be going into the match without Luis Suarez, suspended for a very long time for biting Georgio Chiellini. Colombia finished with a perfect nine points in their group, scoring nine goals along the way, led by James Rodriguez with three goals. Uruguay finished second in their group, barely making it through, with Suarez, scoring twice, being their top scorer.
This is only the fifth World Cup for Colombia, and only once, in 1990, have they made it into the round of 16. Going into this match as favorites, they have a chance of making it into the quarterfinals for the very first time.
Uruguay are two-time World Champions, playing in their 12th World Cup. Last time they made it all the way to the semifinal, but in both 1986 and 1990, the previous two times in which they made it past the group stage, they lost in the round of 16.
Netherlands vs Mexico, Fortaleza, June 29
Mexico finished second in Group A due to goal difference, but were probably the best performer throughout the three matches. The Netherlands finished first in Group B with a perfect record, although they had some shaky moments in their win over Australia and also in the garbage time match against Chile. Ajren Robben and Robin van Persie each have three goals in the tournament, Mexico don’t have anyone with more than one goal.
The Dutch have been to the World Cup final three times, including four years ago. Out of the last five times they’ve made it into the round of 16, twice, in 1990 and 2006, they failed to make it through. Mexico are in the round of 16 for a seventh consecutive time. They lost in all these matches, including twice against Argentina in 2006 and 2010.
Costa Rica vs Greece, Recife, June 29
The most surprising of all knockout stage clashes, Costa Rica finished as the top team in Group D thanks to two impressive wins against Uruguay and Italy, finishing with a meaningless draw against England. Greece began the tournament beaten by three goals. They scored for the first time in their second match, but those goals were enough to finish ahead of Japan and the Ivory Coast.
For Greece, who are in the World Cup for only a third time, this is their first being past the group stage. Costa Rica are in the World Cup for a fourth time. In 1990 they made it past the group stage, but not into the quarterfinals.
France vs Nigeria, Brasilia, June 30
To some surprise, France haven’t had any problems in their group stage, finishing on top of Group E after two wins over Honduras and Switzerland and another draw against Ecuador. Nigeria, second in Group F, began with a goalless draw against Iran and finished with a loss against Argentina, but their win over Bosnia was enough to put them through. Karim Benzema with three goals is France’s top scorer, Ahmed Musa with two is Nigeria’s.
France, World Champions in 1998 and finalist in 2006 seem to be a hit or miss in recent tournaments – either going all the way or failing miserably and not making it out of the group stage. In 1986 and 1982 they made it to the semifinal. For Nigeria, this is the first time past the group stage since 1998. Their two visits to the knockout stage (94, 98) ended with a loss.
Germany vs Algeria, Porto Alegre, June 30
Germany looked dominant early on and slightly disappointing yet still finished first and undefeated in Group G, while Algeria stunned everyone with a brilliant match against South Korea followed by a dramatic equalizer against Russia to take them into the round of 16. Thomas Muller with four goals is the top scorer for Germany, Islam Slimani leads Algeria with two goals.
Germany, three time World Champions and finalists most recently in 2002, have never failed to make the quarterfinals when that was the format and have made the semifinal at least in the last three tournament.. For Algeria, this is the first time ever in the round of 16.
Argentina vs Switzerland, Sao Paulo, July 1
Argentina were another team to finish the group stage with a perfect record, beating Nigeria, Bosnia and Iran. Lionel Messi seems to be the man who will decide how far they go, scoring four goals so far. Switzerland finished second in the group with two wins – over Ecuador and an impressive beating of Hondruas, led bu Xherdan Shaqiri scoring a hat trick.
Argentina have made it to the round of 16 in each of the last three tournaments, but didn’t get past the quarterfinals. They are two-time World Champions, not making it past the final eight since 1990. For Switzerland, this is the third time in four tournaments in which they’ve made the round of 16, but have never gotten past it so far.
Belgium vs United States, Salvador, July 1
Belgium finished with a perfect record in Group H despite scoring only four goals, showing some impressive resiliency, scoring all their goals in the final 20 minutes of matches. The United States opened the tournament with a win, continued with a draw and ended it with a loss but looked good for most of the way, en route to the round of 16, also scoring just four goals in the process and conceding in each one.
Belgium, semifinalists in 1986, have been to the round of 16 in three of their last four World Cups, but haven’t gotten past that stage, including on their last tournament back in 2002. For the United States, this is the second consecutive appearance in the round of 16, but they’ve made it past this stage only once, in 2002, making it to the quarterfinals.