Only 16 teams remain at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after the group stages finally wrapped up on Thursday and half the teams were sent packing.
Major casualties from the first stage of the tournament include reigning champions Spain as well as other major European nations Italy, England and Portugal.
Five South American teams remain with pre-tournament favourites Brazil and Argentina both qualifying on top of their respective groups.
Read on for a look at a full updated schedule for the first knockout round as well as odds and picks for each game.
|Date||Time (BST/ET)||Fixture||Pick to Advance|
|June 28||5 p.m./Noon||Brazil vs. Chile||Brazil|
|June 28||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Colombia vs. Uruguay||Colombia|
|June 29||5 p.m./Noon||Netherlands vs. Mexico||Netherlands|
|June 29||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Costa Rica vs. Greece||Costa Rica|
|June 30||5 p.m./Noon||France vs. Nigeria||France|
|June 30||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Germany vs. Algeria||Germany|
|July 1||5 p.m./Noon||Argentina vs. Switzerland||Argentina|
|July 1||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Belgium vs. USA||USA|
South American Quartet
By a quirk of the draw and the group stage finishes, four of the five South American teams who made it through are in the same quarter of the bracket and thus only one can make it through to the last four, per the Mirror's Ed Malyon:
This is some seriously bad luck RT @GrantWahl: 4 South American teams fight for 1 semifinal spot (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay).— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) June 24, 2014
It looks as though Brazil and Colombia will meet in the quarter-finals, with Chile and Uruguay fancied to leave the tournament after the last-16 stage.
Colombia have been mightily impressive so far this tournament, winning all three of their group games in some style and with James Rodriguez one of the tournament's star players, per Opta:
They should have enough to see off a Uruguay side who have been inconsistent in the tournament so far and who will be without their talisman Luis Suarez, who picked up a lengthy ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in their final group game.
Brazil look to be building into the tournament—they beat Cameroon 4-1 in their last group match—and have the home support to guide them through to the last eight.
The Netherlands have been one of the most impressive teams so far in the tournament, scoring the most goals per Squawka, and hammering Spain 5-1 in their opener:
They should have enough to beat a limited Mexico side and make it to the quarter-finals where they will face either of the tournament's surprise packages Costa Rica or Greece.
It is more likely to be Costa Rica who have looked impressive in attack and conceded only one goal—a penalty—in the whole tournament. Greece often struggle for goals and will likely come up short against Jorge Luis Pinto's exciting side.
Germany and Argentina to Cruise Through
Argentina have been galvanised through the competition thus far by the inimitable Lionel Messi, who has bagged four vital goals as Alejandro Sabella's side won all their group games.
If the Barcelona star can keep up his form, Argentina should most certainly be able to see off Switzerland to make it through to the last eight.
Will Argentina win the World Cup?
Though the Swiss have surprised many with their goalscoring in the competition so far, they have also been uncharacteristically leaky in defence—they conceded five against France—an area which Argentina will exploit.
Germany have had something of a comedown since their opening 4-0 victory over Portugal, drawing 2-2 with Ghana before beating USA 1-0 to top the group.
However, they still look to be one of the most impressive sides in the tournament and should sweep aside Algeria on their way to a last-eight spot.
Algeria's historic qualification out of the groups was mightily impressive, per the Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson, but Joachim Low's side will have too much for them in the last 16.
Huge achievement by Algeria tonight, first WC last 16, puts to rest 1982 scandal a little. Lots of grown men hugging each other in press box— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) June 27, 2014
The USA looked impressive as they qualified out of Group G and have a real chance of causing an upset by beating Belgium to reach the quarter-finals.
The much-fancied Belgians won all three of their group games, although none comprehensively, and Jurgen Klinsmann's passionate and organised USA side will be their stiffest challenge yet.
Finally, France must surely be able to make it past Nigeria, Les Bleus have shown a great deal of quality in attack and Karim Benzema has been one of the stars of the tournament thus far.
Nigeria scraped into the last 16 after just one win in their group and their tournament likely ends in the first knockout round as France have far superior quality in their ranks.
The knockout rounds heighten the World Cup tension as one slip, one decision, one mistake can spell the end of the tournament for another four years.
As already seen in the group stages, shocks happen at World Cups and there can be no room for complacency as the tournament reaches the business end.
The matches are less frequent but they are much more significant, and at this stage the threat of penalties comes into play just to add to the drama.