At this point in the 2014 World Cup, it's relatively easy to tell which teams have best set themselves up to advance past the group stage and into the knockout round.
We're beginning to get into the second slate of matches for most nations. Through two matches, the outlook of the tournament is much easier to see. Some teams have set themselves up well to advance, others have missed opportunities and shown the inability to capitalize.
After a full seven days of play, here are updated predictions regarding which teams will advance from each group.
|Group A Table|
After Brazil and Mexico played to a draw on Day 6 of the tournament, the two teams have set themselves up for a berth in the knockout round. Despite the draw, both teams looked sharp and ready to play the best teams this World Cup has to offer.
Luiz Felipe Scolari is encouraged by his team's improvement, according to The Mirror's Jack Lang:
Croatia have a good chance of catching either team, but the likelihood of that happening isn't very high. Both Brazil and Mexico are far too strong.
Many like Croatia to advance, but I just don't see it happening. Not after Mexico proved themselves against Brazil.
Prediction: Brazil (1A), Mexico (2A)
|Group B Table|
Spain's six-year run is over. With Wednesday's 2-0 loss to Chile, Spain have relinquished their standing atop international soccer.
The Chileans have been the most impressive. They did what was expected of them against Australia then made a huge statement by taking care of business against Spain. While Spain looked like a team in disarray, Chile certainly earned the win.
The Netherlands have also been impressive. It is between the Netherlands and Chile for the top spot in the group, but both have already locked down bids to advance. In the head-to-head matchup, I think the Netherlands win by a goal.
Prediction: Netherlands (1B), Chile (2B)
|Group C Table|
This group is pretty much already decided, as Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com noted:
Japan are fast and talented enough to make waves in this group, but it will take an incredible effort to advance. I don't think they'll do it.
Prediction: Colombia (1C), Ivory Coast (2C)
|Group D Table|
Costa Rica's 3-1 win over Uruguay has made this group interesting. Italy's talent was enough to get past England, but both losing teams are still very much in contention. England are a quality bunch, while Uruguay are also very good.
With Costa Rica set to play spoiler, there's a good chance neither England nor Uruguay advance. Italy have my money to advance. If Costa Rica win one more match, I'm giving the second spot out of this group to them.
I don't know if they can, however. Uruguay and England play each other on Day 8. I think the winner of this match moves on.
Prediction: Italy (1D), Uruguay (2D)
|Group E Table|
The two teams moving on are all but set, in my opinion, as both France and Switzerland appeared strong in their openers. Ecuador and Honduras will be sent packing early.
The final order of the two teams won't be decided until the third round of matches in Group E. Given how France and Switzerland have played, it could really go either way.
Given the play of Karim Benzema, Mathieu Debuchy and Antoine Griezmann so far, France appear to be favorites.
Prediction: France (1E), Switzerland (2E)
|Group F Table|
This group almost isn't even worth analyzing. After Nigeria and Iran played through a snooze-fest of a draw, it became even more apparent that Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina are the best teams in Group F.
Bosnia currently hold the last spot in the group, but that's only because of a loss to Argentina. Both teams should win out the remaining games of the group and advance.
Prediction: Argentina (1F), Bosnia-Herzegovina (2F)
|Group G Table|
The top group in this World Cup is still very interesting. The United States defeated Ghana, and Germany defeated Portugal, but this is far from over.
Given Germany's outstanding performance against Portugal, it is clear that they are the class of Group G. They'll be moving on as the group's top seed.
The second team to advance isn't so easy to select. The Americans won despite a poor defensive strategy after scoring early against Ghana, and Portugal still have the talent necessary to come back.
The No. 2 team in the group could very well be decided when USA take on Portugal. That result will decide the next team to move on.
Prediction: Germany (1G), USA (2G)
|Group H Table|
Belgium looked pretty good against Algeria, even if there was some shakiness at points throughout the match. This team is the most talented in Group H, however, so talent should win out for them.
Picking a next team is tricky, but not for the same reasons as Group G. This time, the remaining three teams in the group all lack superior talent.
Algeria did put on a pretty good showing against Belgium, while South Korea and Russia both played sloppily in their draw. Regardless, I like one of those two teams to move on. It will come down to which of the two can defeat Algeria.
Prediction: Belgium (1H), South Korea (2H)