The 2014 World Cup group stages are over, and the 16 weakest teams have been sent packing as we head for the knockout stages. Saturday's two matches will feature four South American teams, including hosts Brazil, so local fans will have every reason to come out in force when competition resumes.
Due to the way the table has been set up, at least one of these four teams will make the semi-finals, meaning three of four South American teams will be eliminated. It's unfortunate for fans on the home continent, but it also means Saturday's fixtures will be filled with drama and emotion.
Here's the full schedule for Matchday 16, including TV and live stream info:
|2014 World Cup Day 16 Scedule|
|Time (BST)||Time (ET)||Match||TV Info||Live Stream|
|5 p.m.||12 p.m.||Brazil v Chile||ABC/BBC1||WatchESPN/BBC iPlayer|
|9 p.m.||4 p.m.||Colombia v Uruguay||ABC/ITV||WatchESPN/ITV Player|
Brazil v Chile
These two teams have a bit of a World Cup history, meeting in a loser-goes-home scenario on three occasions in the past. The Chileans lost every single one of those matches, including a particularly painful tie back in 1998:
La Roja may have lost their final group stage match 2-0 to the Netherlands, but Jorge Sampaoli rested several key contributors during that fixture, knowing full well he couldn't afford to lose any of them heading into the round of 16.
Alexis Sanchez has been the team's most consistent performer so far, his constant movement making it almost impossible to defend him for the full 90 minutes. But the biggest star is undoubtedly Arturo Vidal, who is still recovering from surgery to his knee at the end of the 2013-14 season.
The marauding midfielder told reporters he will be ready for Saturday's clash, according to FIFA.com, adding the importance of that match:
I'll play the round of 16 match on Saturday. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Brazil has often been Chile's nemesis but football changes, new generations come and new players appear.
Beating Brazil? That's our dream. Chile can create a surprise. We've beaten the world champions, so we can beat Brazil.
At full strength, Chile's incredible athleticism and high tempo are very difficult to handle for any opponent. La Roja bombard the box with crosses and incisive runs, and unless you can match their extraordinary intensity, space will always open up.
The Brazilians are experts at monopolising the ball, and keeping it away from Chile's playmakers will be key in this match. If the central players have time and space to launch attacks out on the wing, Chile are at their best.
Brazil may not match Chile's intensity in the centre of the pitch, but with Marcelo and Dani Alves, they do out wide. Not over-committing against the likes of Mauricio Isla will be important, as the Juventus man looked very active in the match against the Dutch.
The Selecao need to do what they do best, and that's to use their creativity to put their strikers in scoring positions. As long as they don't get sucked into a physical battle with Chile, they should be fine.
Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Chile After Extra Time
Colombia v Uruguay
Let's just get this out of the way—Luis Suarez won't be playing, per HLN's Kristof Terreur:
With the Liverpool striker not even allowed to set foot in the stadium, let's have a look at the players who will actually grace the pitch. Diego Forlan is the logical replacement for Suarez, having replaced him in Uruguay's starting XI for their last 16 match against Costa Rica.
The Colombians rested a number of players during their big win over Japan, and Jackson Martinez took full advantage of his chance to start by scoring a brace. The Porto man may have done enough to be given another shot against Uruguay, with Carlos Bacca also still on the bench.
James Rodriguez has been the standout performer so far, and the 22-year-old will make his return to the starting XI, where he'll be joined by Mario Yepes. The veteran centre-back is playing better than ever before, and his skilful organisation of the defence has made Colombia one of the most dangerous teams left in the tournament.
Diego Godin was the hero for La Celeste against Italy, and he will have to be the rock in the defence to halt a Colombian attack almost scoring at will. Uruguay have so far lacked a real threat out wide, electing to put the ball at the feet of their top finishers and let them create chances for themselves.
That means Forlan and Edinson Cavani will face tremendous pressure to perform, but against a Colombian side always pushing forward, they will have space to operate in.
Colombia will want to take control of proceedings in midfield early, giving them a platform to release their wide players and play plenty of through balls.
Prediction: Colombia 3-1 Uruguay
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