The group stages are over and this is where the truly serious part of the competition begins. Lose now and you’re going home. Here @0riginalfooty looks forward to the second round of the competition and offers predictions for the knockout matches taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
Brazil vs Chile: Saturday 28th June 5pm
Brazil topped group A and face runners up Chile from group B. However, Chile will be delighted to have made it this far in the competition having been placed in a tough group containing Spain and the Netherlands. Both sides now face arguably their toughest challenge yet in what should be an intriguing last 16 contest. However, Brazil have more World Cup experience and having won the Confederations cup last year will be viewed as the favourites. It will be a tight match but expect Brazil to edge it.
Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Chile
Colombia vs Uruguay: Saturday 28th June 9pm
Colombia have been in scintillating form at these finals with players such as Juan Cuadrado and James Rodriguez particularly shining for them thus far. Uruguay, on the other hand, endured a tough start by losing to Costa Rica but then recorded narrow victories over England and Italy to seal their passage to the last 16. There will be arguments from some quarters that Colombia had what turned out to be a fairly easy group and are not as strong as they appear. However, they have pace in abundance and can launch an extremely dangerous counterattack. Uruguay have also been hit by Suarez’s 9 match international ban and I suspect that will be enough to tip the balance in Colombia’s favour.
Prediction: Colombia 3-1 Uruguay
Netherlands vs Mexico: Sunday 29th June 5pm
The Mexicans have enjoyed a brilliant World Cup to date. They are yet to lose a game, which is particularly impressive considering they were in a group with Brazil, and generally look well organised and are a threat going forward. However, they have been handed an extremely tough draw against one of the form sides in the competition: the Netherlands. Van Gaal’s men have been outstanding so far and the attacking trio of Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder looks back to its best. This won’t be a walk in the park but the Netherlands should find a way through.
Prediction: Netherlands 2-1 Mexico
Costa Rica vs Greece: Sunday 29th June 9pm
Costa Rica have been one of the surprise packages of the World Cup as no one really gave them a hope in getting through a group filled with Italy, Uruguay and England. Costa Rica did not only just qualify but they topped the group and have been rewarded with a last 16 clash against Greece, who performed a minor miracle to reach the knockout stages themselves. Up until their third and final match, they had not registered a goal and were one of the worst teams to watch at the World Cup. However, they recorded a surprise last-gasp win over the Ivory Coast and sealed their passage to the next round. Costa Rica have performed admirably against tough opposition and, if they keep up their work rate and good form, should see off the Greeks.
Prediction: Costa Rica 2-0 Greece