After over two weeks of matches, group play in the 2014 World Cup is finally over, and while there were plenty of exciting games throughout the first stage, there are bound to be even more exciting moments in the knockout stage along with a couple of things to expect.
There were a few teams that surprisingly made the round of 16, including the United States, who survived the "group of death," and Costa Rica, as they held their own against teams like England, Italy and Uruguay to take the top spot in Group D.
Now that group play is over, here are the complete results throughout the past couple of weeks along with predictions for the knockout stage.
Group Play Results
|Thursday, June 12|
|Friday, June 13|
|Saturday, June 14|
|Sunday, June 15|
|Monday, June 16|
|Tuesday, June 17|
|Wednesday, June 18|
|Thursday, June 19|
|Friday, June 20|
|Saturday, June 21|
|Sunday, June 22|
|Monday, June 23|
|Tuesday, June 24|
|Wednesday, June 25|
|Thursday, June 26|
Predictions for Knockout Stage
Neymar Stays Hot to Give Brazil Win Over Chile
At just 22 years old, Neymar has become the clear star for Brazil, and with such a strong start in group play, he looks bound to make a big impact during their round of 16 matchup against Chile.
In the team's first three matches, Neymar is tied with Lionel Messi for the most goals in World Cup play with four, recording two braces against Croatia and Cameroon. While he's playing on the biggest stage of his life, Neymar doesn't seem anxious, as he says that he's living his dream.
"There is no pressure when you are living your dream," Neymar told Tales Azzoni from the Associated Press (via ABC News). "I'm doing what I've always wanted to do since I was a little kid. Today my dream is coming true, I'm playing the matches that I've always wanted to be playing."
So far, Chile have given up three goals in three matches, but they haven't been very aggressive. According to WhoScored.com, Chile have ranked 31st out of the 32 teams in tackles, with just 13.7 challenges made per game.
Considering just how lethal Neymar can be, he should be able to break through Chile's defense and get at least a few shots on goal by the end of the match, and that should be enough to help Brazil put the pressure on and advance.
France Have No Problem Getting Through Nigeria
Despite a strong group of defenders, Nigeria won't be able to get past a very talented France squad in the knockout round.
France didn't have much trouble getting through Group E, grabbing the top spot with seven points. They had one of the best goal differentials in group play, outscoring opponents 8-2. According to Squakwa.com, the team currently ranks first among all teams with a 1,152 performance score, while Germany are right behind them at 1,123.
In their first two matches, Nigeria hadn't allowed a single goal, as they've been built around a strong defense that leads to ideal opportunities on the counter-attack.
However, Argentina were able to expose them, scoring three goals in the final match including two from Lionel Messi. To make matters worse, Nigeria will now be without Michael Babatunde, who broke his arm against Argentina.
According to ESPN's Colin Udoh, Babatunde's surgery was successful but he'll be out for the rest of the World Cup:
Nigeria showed that they struggle containing top-tier scorers in their previous match, and that's bad news. France have more than a few big names, including Karim Benzema, who has already put up three goals and two assists.
While they should be proud to have made it this far, it's unlikely that Nigeria make it any farther in this year's tournament.
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