We have now finished the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This means that we are down to the last 16 teams looking to win the World Cup.
The Round of 16 breaks down as follows:
Brazil (winners of Group A) vs. Chile (runners-up of Group B)
Columbia (winners of Group C) vs. Uruguay (runners-up of Group D)
France (winners of Group E) vs. Nigeria (runners-up Group F)
Germany (winners Group G) vs. Algeria (runners-up Group H)
Netherlands (winners of Group B) vs. Mexico (runners-up of Group A)
Costa Rica (winners of Group D) vs. Greece (runners-up of Group C)
Argentina (winners of Group F) vs. Switzerland (runners-up of Group E)
Belgium (winners Group H) vs. United States (runners-up Group G)
There were four surprises in the group stage:
- Spain was the first team to be eliminated thanks to losing their first two games (5-1 to the Netherlands and 2-0 to Chile.) Spain was the #1 ranked team heading into the World Cup.
- England was also eliminated in the group stage thanks to losses to Italy (2-1) and Uruguay (2-1) and Costa Rica’s 1-0 win over Italy. That meant their third game, a 0-0 draw vs. Costa Rica was pointless for both teams. This was World Cup since 1958 where England failed to make it out of the group stage. England was ranked #10 leading into the World Cup.
- Italy was eliminated in the group stage thanks to back-to-back 1-0 losses Costa Rica and Uruguay respectfully after a 1-0 win over England in their opening game. The Italians were ranked #9 in the world heading into the tournament
- Portugal came into the World Cup ranked #4 in the world. However, they were crushed 4-0 in their first game against Germany before tying the United States 2-2 and then beating Ghana 2-1. They finished tied for second place with the United States in Group G but finished out of the Group of 16 thanks to losing by three goals on goals difference.
Algeria beat Russia on the last day of the group stage. A tie or a Russian victory would have meant that Russia, not Algeria, would have advanced.
Of the 16 teams making it to the knockout round, only one – Nigeria (44) – is not in the top 30. Six of the teams are in the Top 10, and 13 of the teams are in the Top 20.
My predictions for for this round are as follows: Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Let’s see what happens.