So that’s your round of 16 lineups and it starts off tonight. The group stage matches concluded last night and we have the final 16 teams of the tournament. A couple of surprises here and there. Let’s take a look at the line ups:
Brazil vs Chile : Despite a roadblock in the form of Mexico Brazil finished strongly with an impressive 4-1 win over Cameroon to finish top of their group with 7 points. Chile progress with 6 points and second in their group after losing 0-2 to the Dutch.
Uruguay vs Columbia : Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 to finish second in their group and thereby eliminating the Italians from the World Cup. But they must progress without star striker Luis Suarez who is suspended for 9 matches after he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder. Columbia topped their group with a 4-1 win over Japan and will have their hopes up to reach the quaterfinals and more.
Netherlands vs Mexico : The strong Dutch team finished with maximum points in their group after they beat Chile 2-0. They look like strong favourites along with Brazil if only they maintain discipline and avoid rash challenges. Mexico’s party continues after they finished second behind Brazil with a 3-1 win over Croatia in their 3rd game and eliminated the Croats from the competition.
Costa Rica vs Greece : The surprise side of the world cup so far are the positive & exciting Costa Ricans who have topped their group with a 0-0 draw against England which eliminated the English. At times the English didn’t even look like they were trying and they need to really think about changes to the squad. Greece is another surprise as the finished second to Columbia after they defeated Ivory Coast 2-1 in their final group stage match.
France vs Nigeria : France looked a bit listless in their final game of the group stage and drew 0-0 against Ecuador to finish on top of their group with 7 points. But they better shape up as their opponents Nigeria seem to have improved as the tournament went on and they finished runners-up in their group to Argentina with a 2-3 loss to them. However as Bosnia & Herzogovina defeated Iran 3-1 that eliminated the Iranians from progressing to the knock out stages.
Germany vs Algeria : Germany seem to have slipped up a bit from the heady performance of their opening match against Portugal and just about managed to defeat the USA with a solitary goal from Thomas Muller. They need to shore up their defense and also create more chances up front. Algeria is the other surprise although they came from a weaker group but did show strong play throughout to impress me and finished second to Belgium by drawing the final game with the Russians. Look for them to bring their A game against the Germans.
Argentina vs Switzerland : Argentina looked shaky against the ever improving Nigerians but managed to win 3-1 with a strong brace from Leo Messi. Will they peak at the right time and go far in this tournament now that Sergio Aguero is out injured? Switzerland peaked just in time to win 3-0 against Honduras and finish second in the group to France thanks to a hattrick from Xherdhan Shaqiri. Can they break the Argentinians?
Belgium vs USA : And finally Belgium looked like a strong dark horse quietly winning all 3 of their group stage matches with a solitary goal win over Korea. They now face the improving USA who lost their final game to Germany 1-0 but finish second with 4 points over the Portuguese as they have a better goal difference. This could go either way.
So there you have it. Let the round of 16 begin!