Only 16 teams remain in the 2014 World Cup after a long and arduous road through qualifiers and the group stages.
The early tournament action was filled with awe-inspiring play and unexpected results; however, the round of 16 will only intensify further due to its single-elimination format.
On Saturday, the knockout stages officially commence with a couple of South American showdowns, as host country Brazil takes on Chile and Columbia faces off against Uruguay.
With so much on the line, and four star-studded casts taking the pitch, it's safe to say not a single tackle, penalty or shot on goal should be missed.
That said, let's take a look at the full schedule and game lines for Day 17 of the World Cup and predict how these fixtures are likely to unfold.
Day 17 Schedule
|Date||Time (ET)||Matchup||TV Info|
|Sat., June 28||12 p.m.||Brazil vs. Chile||ABC|
|Sat., June 28||4 p.m.||Colombia vs. Uruguay||ABC|
All game lines courtesy of Vegas Insider.
Brazil vs. Chile
Coming into the World Cup, Brazil was considered one of the tournament favorites—the same could not be said for Chile.
Brazil didn't look overly impressive in its first two contests, as the team relied too heavily on Neymar against Croatia and couldn't find a way around Mexico's defense. However, the Brazilians really turned it on against Cameroon.
Neymar continued his offensive prowess, scoring another two goals in his country's third game—bringing his total to four over that span—although Fred and midfielder Oscar must step up their efforts, each having recorded a single goal thus far.
According to a tweet from Selecao Brasileira, manager Luiz Felipe Scolari had some high praise for Neymar:
Scolari: "Messi or Neymar? Messi is one of the best, and Neymar is heading his way. Neymar now only cares to win WC, not to be the best."— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) June 27, 2014
Scolari: "What I'm sure of is that Neymar can be the player who guides his country to WC glory. That's the biggest achievement in football."— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) June 27, 2014
Brazil hasn't played an overly aggressive attacking team to this point but has looked solid on the defensive side of the pitch, allowing just two goals over three games.
Chile looked good in its first two matches. Two well-rounded contests against Australia and the struggling Spaniards got this team off to a hot start; however, it proved to be no match for the powerful Dutch.
The Brazilians have the same kind of attacking mentality as the Netherlands, and Chile could be set up for a second consecutive disappointing loss.
Prediction: Brazil 2, Chile 1
Colombia vs. Uruguay
Colombia has simply looked fantastic over its first three games of the World Cup. The team made a clean sweep of Group C, scoring an impressive nine goals while allowing just two.
Squawka Football tweeted Colombia's offensive ranking in the tournament:
Top scorers in the World Cup group stage: Netherlands (10), Colombia (9), France (8), Brazil, Germany, Switzerland (all 7). #WorldCup— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 27, 2014
James Rodriguez has been stellar for the team, recording a goal in each game and completing his great run in the group stage by adding two assists in Colombia's final game against Japan.
The Colombians have yet to trail in any match in this year's World Cup, and the team only appears to be getting stronger with each passing game.
Uruguay certainly has its hands full against Colombia—especially due to the suspension of Luis Suarez for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Sky News' Paul Kelso tweeted the details of the punishment:
This suspension, along with Uruguay's up-and-down performances throughout the group stage simply doesn't bode well against an ultra-confident Colombian team.
Expect Colombia's offense to pour it on from the start and earn yet another brilliant victory.
Prediction: Colombia 3, Uruguay 1