With a good amount of teams already through two games played at the 2014 World Cup, it's becoming more and more clear which teams are going to be heading to the knockout stage after group play.
Through Day 8, 14 of the 32 teams have played their second game in the group stage. For these teams, some have already locked up their spots in the round of 16, while others have been eliminated, including one squad that was expected to be a title contender.
Before Day 9 begins, here are the latest predictions for all eight groups for which teams will advance to the next round.
|Group A Table|
Despite not playing to their full potential up to this point, Brazil are still in great position to advance out of Group A after a draw against Mexico. El Tri currently have four points as well in large part to goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa's terrific performance in the scoreless draw.
“There’s no goalkeeper in a World Cup that has done what Ochoa did against Brazil,” Mexico manager Miguel Herrera told Paul Doyle from The Guardian. “Memo makes great saves and gives us a lot of security at the back.”
A draw against the home team was big, but El Tri aren't guaranteed to advance, as they'll have to take on Croatia in their final group-play match. Croatia are right in the thick of the competition with three points, and a win over Mexico could secure their spot in the knockout round.
Mario Mandzukic has been a big key, as he was the first Croatian to ever have a brace at the World Cup in the win against Cameroon according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Mexico have been playing great up to this point, but I think Croatia will grab the win to advance.
Prediction: Brazil (1A), Croatia (2A)
|Group B Table|
After winning the World Cup in 2010, Spain are already eliminated from title contention with two devastating losses. In fact, Group B is already set with which two teams will advance, as both Spain and Australia are already out.
The Netherlands and Chile will advance, but it is unclear which team will grab the top spot and which will come in second. While in most circumstances it may not matter, the loser will likely have to play Brazil in the first game of the knockout round, according to Andrew Das from the New York Times.
Both teams have played well so far, but it's been a magical run so far for the Netherlands. Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie have each come up with three goals so far, while Daley Blind has helped with three assists. It'll be close, but even with a draw the Netherlands will grab the top spot due to goal differential.
Prediction: Netherlands (1B), Chile (2B)
|Group C Table|
It's been a terrific run for Colombia, starting by scoring three goals on a defensive-minded Greece in their opener, then won a 2-1 thriller against the Ivory Coast to take a commanding lead of Group C. According to ESPN's Paul Carr, it's the first time in World Cup history that Colombia have won two games.
After watching both games on Thursday, it's clear that the Ivory Coast and Colombia are the teams to beat. The scoreless draw between Greece and Japan wasn't pretty for either side. Japan proved that they can deal with a physical team, even when going against just 10 men, while Greece couldn't get good looks.
Ivory Coast isn't always consistent, but their offensive weapons will be enough to help them get out of the group.
Prediction: Colombia (1C), Ivory Coast (2C)
|Group D Table|
A healthy Luis Suarez made all the difference for Uruguay in their second match, with the talented striker scoring both goals in their 2-1 win over England. With the Three Lions essentially out of the running, it's now a three-team race for two spots.
With how well Suarez played, he should be able to help lead Uruguay to at least one of the two spots. For the other one, I like Italy. They have a number of experiences players that can keep their composure under pressure, and they showed that during their first game against England.
Mario Balotelli looked good in the team's first match, and they'll need him to get plenty of scoring opportunities if they want to make a deep run in this year's World Cup.
Prediction: Uruguay (1D), Italy (2D)
|Group E Table|
Even though all four teams have played just one game, it seems pretty clear which two squads are advancing from Group E.
France proved that they're an extremely aggressive team against Honduras, taking 20 shot attempts to their four while controlling the ball 63 percent of the time. According to WhoScored, France had one of the highest match ratings through one game at 7.19.
The other team likely to advance is Switzerland after their 2-1 win over Ecuador. This group doesn't have a ton of talent outside of the top-two teams, and with players like Gokhan Inler and Xherdan Shaqiri, the Swiss should be able to advance as well.
Prediction: France (1E), Switzerland (2E)
|Group F Table|
When it comes to Group F, it's Argentina and then everyone else.
After playing the second-best team in the group, Argentina proved that they'll coast to the knockout stage thanks to the 2-1 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Along with one of the best players in the world in Lionel Messi, Argentina have a ton of offensive talent with players like Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.
Despite the loss, Bosnia should be able to advance. Iran and Nigeria played in arguably the most boring match of the tournament so far with a scoreless draw, so Bosnia should play well enough to get at least four points in the next two matches.
Prediction: Argentina (1F), Bosnia-Herzegovina (2F)
|Group G Table|
The Group of Death featured a pair of thrilling matches in the openers, and all four teams will still be fighting to secure spots in the knockout round in their second matches.
After a 4-0 thrashing against Portugal, Germany looks like a lock to win the top spot in Group G. The second spot will likely go to either the United States or Portugal, which makes their matchup on Sunday a crucial one for both squads.
Both sides will be without key players. Portugal will be without Pepe due to a red card he earned against Germany, and according to their official Twitter account, Team USA will be without Jozy Altidore for the game after being injured against Ghana.
It's going to be hard for the United States to win, but if they can at least get a draw against Portugal, they should be able to advance.
Prediction: Germany (1G), United States (2G)
|Group H Table|
There isn't a ton of talent in Group H, but Belgium have the most talent of any of the four teams, and that showed in their fin against Algeria. They have a ton of youth and some big names, including Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
After Belgium, it's essentially a coin toss for who will take the second spot in the group. Russia played in a draw against South Korea, and both teams have the best odds to advance with Algeria already losing a match. Russia have the more balanced team with some reliable backs and midfielders.
It will likely come down to who fares better against Algeria, and if Russia can play up to their potential, they'll be able to win and possibly advance.
Prediction: Belgium (1H), Russia (2H)
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