Spain. Bye Bye.
Portugal. See ya later.
With European giants crashing out, the Netherlands held the banner high – but it has been the Americas that have set the World Cup alight. Costa Rica topped Group D, Chile stunned Group B and Colombia scored 9 goals without Falcao – seriously, I’m not making this up.
Toss in a mix of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay chewing their way through England and Italy, and you have 5 South American sides in the knockout rounds.
And here’s how we see the Round of 16 shaking out:
Brazil v Chile
Brazil didn’t exactly light the group stage on fire, while Chile showed they are a tough side to beat, a side who can score and counter extremely well.
With the weight of expectations on Brazil sky-high, this match will go two ways: Brazil dominates and scores for fun OR Chile suffocates their stars with pressure and sneaks a one goal win.
While Vidal will be massive in the midfield and the back four have to be spot on, it will be Claudio Bravo who must play the match of his life against Brazil – under siege for 90 minutes, he’ll need heroics to keep his side in it.
Prediction: Brazil 1 – 2 Chile
Man of the Match: Claudio Bravo
Colombia v Uruguay
With BiteGate in full effect, the sharks are circling and Uruguay will have to look somewhere other than Luis Suarez for goals. The Liverpool man (For Now…) struck gold for his side against England, and helped inspire them to a win over Italy – but Colombia is scoring goals for fun and Uruguay will find it tough to match their play.
James Rodriguez has impressed so far, I expect him to put on a masterclass against a slower Uruguayan side and push his team to the Quarterfinals.
Prediction: Colombia 1 – 0
Man of the Match: James Rodriguez
Netherlands v Mexico
The Dutch arrived at the World Cup in style, demolishing Spain but were less than convincing against the Socceroos.
A strong win against Chile put them back as favourites and while Mexico has impressed in their newest system, I fear that the Miguel Herrara’s side lack the depth to go toe-to-toe with the Netherlands for 90 minutes.
Mexico will have to be on point to keep the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie at bay, not to mention the rest of the lethal Dutch players.
Prediction: Netherlands 3 – 1 Mexico
Man of the Match: Arjen Robben
Costa Rica v Greece
Let’s be perfectly clear: the Greeks are here because of a very, very dodgy penalty call. They were boring, harsh on the eyes
and possibly the weakest side in the final 16.
Now that i’ve cleared that up: Costa Rica are fantastic.
Fun to watch, hard working and they will make you pay on the counter attack – I expect them to slice up their opponents and serve them up on a platter.
Keylor Navas has been brilliant in net, while Joel Campbell has lit it up and Bryan Ruiz has shown the craft and skill that was once expected of him.
Prediction: Costa Rica 3 – 0 Greece
Man of the Match: Joel Campbell