The 2014 World Cup has officially moved on to the knockout stages. Group play concluded on Thursday, and after the round of 16, eight teams will continue to the quarterfinals.
A few teams have been big surprises so far, somehow advancing out of their respective groups. Greece only scored two goals in three matches, but that didn't keep them from somehow advancing out of Group C ahead of Ivory Coast and Japan. The United States were a pretty big surprise as well, as they were able to make it out of the dreaded Group of Death.
Now that group play is over, here are predictions for all eight matches in the round of 16 along with previews for a couple of the biggest games.
Round of 16 Predictions
|Matchup||Date and Time||Prediction|
|Brazil vs. Chile||June 28, 2014, 12 p.m. ET||2-1 Brazil|
|Colombia vs. Uruguay||June 28, 2014, 4 p.m. ET||2-0 Colombia|
|Netherlands vs. Mexico||June 29, 2014, 12 p.m. ET||2-0 Netherlands|
|Costa Rica vs. Greece||June 29, 2014, 4 p.m. ET||1-0 Greece|
|France vs. Nigeria||June 30, 2014, 12 p.m. ET||2-1 France|
|Germany vs. Algeria||June 30, 2014, 4 p.m. ET||3-0 Germany|
|Argentina vs. Switzerland||July 1, 2014, 12 p.m. ET||3-1 Argentina|
|Belgium vs. United States||July 1, 2014, 4 p.m. ET||2-1 Belgium|
Brazil vs. Chile
Playing in front of the home crowd automatically gives Brazil an advantage heading into Saturday's matchup against Chile, but that's not the only reason they should be able to win.
During group play, Brazil played well, winning two games while grabbing a scoreless draw against Mexico. They beat Croatia and Cameroon by a combined score of 7-2, and phenom Neymar has been a big reason for that.
He is currently tied with Lionel Messi for the most goals in this World Cup with four. The 22-year-old has also added an assist, and while the pressure is on him to step up on such a big stage, he seems pretty relaxed.
"There is no pressure when you are living your dream," Neymar told Tales Azzoni from The Associated Press (h/t 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."
While Chile were able to win two of their first three matches, their wins came against a struggling Spain squad and an Australian team that didn't win anything. Brazil will have a lot of talent besides Neymar, including Hulk, Robinho, Dani Alves and Oscar.
As the home squad, Brazil won't leave fans disappointed with an early exit, at least not this early.
Prediction: Brazil win 2-1
Belgium vs. United States
After escaping the Group of Death, Team USA fans are already happy they've made it this far, but the United States may be playing in their last game on Tuesday against Belgium.
So far, the United States have exceeded expectations, beating Ghana, nearly defeating Portugal and holding Germany to just one goal in a 1-0 loss. That was good enough for them to advance, and while Group H didn't have a ton of talent, the United States are going to have trouble against Belgium.
USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann was relieved that his team was able to advance, but now he wants them to keep proving themselves.
“It’s huge for us, getting out of this group,” Klinsmann told Jeff Z. Klein from The New York Times. “Everybody said you have no chance. We took that chance, and we move on and now we really want to prove a point.”
Belgium had no problem breezing through Group H, grabbing three wins while allowing just one goal during group play. Squawka.com has Belgium as the fifth-best team based on their performance score, while USA rank just 18th.
The odds for the United States to win aren't terrible, but they're not the favorites against Belgium. According to FiveThirtyEight, Team USA have a 41.6 percent chance of beating Belgium.
While the United States should be able to keep it close, expect Belgium to find a way to go ahead late and crush Team USA's hopes of making a deep run in this year's World Cup.
Prediction: Belgium win 2-1