The group stage of the 2014 World Cup is officially over, and now 16 teams will be preparing to play in the knockout round, so there will be a couple of things to expect during the eight matches.
There have been more than a few surprises this far through the World Cup. Both Spain and England suffered disappointing early exits, while the likes of the United States and Costa Rica surprised by advancing after solid-enough performances in group play.
Below is a look at a the final standings for every group, followed by a couple of predictions for the knockout stage.
Final Group Tables
Uruguay Won't Get Past Colombia Without Luis Suarez
Uruguay had enough problems coming into the World Cup about how to get out of a competitive Group D, but even now that they have advanced, they're going to have a very time taking down Colombia with Luis Suarez suspended.
Jeff Borzello from CBS Sports wrote that FIFA officially gave Suarez a nine-match international ban for biting Italy defender Georgio Chiellini. As he also points out, Suarez has now been banned 34 times since 2010 without receiving a red card.
Luis Suarez has now been banned for 34 matches since 2010 -- without receiving a single red card: http://t.co/rwACXoh9iF— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 26, 2014
Claudio Susler, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, had this to say about the suspension according to Borzello:
Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field. The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr. Suárez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated.
While Uruguay still have Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan, Suarez was easily their best striker, and that will make it much harder for the team to creating scoring opportunities.
Colombia are a very tough opponent for Uruguay, as they were one of just three teams to win all three games in group play and were tied with the Netherlands for the highest goal differential at plus-seven.
The 22-year-old James Rodriguez has become a star for Colombia, and he's continued to turn heads, scoring three goals and recording two assists in the team's first three matches.
As Jason Burt from The Telegraph noted, Rodriguez has definitely been one of the stars of this year's World Cup.
Colombia's James Rodriguez a real star of this World Cup. Was a big THFC target in AVB's first summer in charge. Shame didn't get him.— Jason Burt (@JBurtTelegraph) June 24, 2014
Along with other talented players such as Jackson Martinez and Juan Cuadrado, Uruguay's inconsistent defense is going to have its hands full, and without Suarez, it's hard to see them making it out of the round of 16.
Holland's Talented Forwards Break Through Mexico's Defense
It's been a terrific run for the Netherlands in this year's World Cup thanks to their relentless offensive attack, and while Mexico have been strong defensively, that likely won't keep Holland from scoring at least a couple of goals in the match.
Along with three wins and a plus-seven goal differential in group play, Oranje have also already scored 10 goals in this tournament, which is the most of any squad in this year's tournament.
With such a strong start to the tournament, Arjen Robben understands that the team has a legitimate chance to win it all. According to Mark Doyle of Goal.com, Robben said:
If we win against Mexico, the World Cup final is possible again.
We must realise that. It's simple: win three times and we're in the final of the World Cup. Ahead of the tournament we did not expect this - although I did not have as bad a feeling about the World Cup as most people in Holland.
Holland's offense will be going against arguably its toughest test, however, against Mexico. They allowed just one goal in the group stage, even holding the talented Brazil squad to a scoreless draw.
The good news for the Netherlands is that they will have plenty of firepower once again. Robin van Persie is returning after being suspended in the final match of group play for having two yellow cards. He was terrific in the two games he played in, scoring three goals.
Meanwhile, Robben has continued to be productive, recording three goals and an assist.
According to WhoScored.com, Robben and Van Persie have been two of the best five players in the World Cup in terms of match rating, while former England striker Gary Lineker believes that Robben has been the best player so far in the World Cup.
The best player of the World Cup group stage is Arjen Robben. He's been utterly outstanding!— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 23, 2014
Along with Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the Netherlands are going to simply have too many options for Mexico to handle.