The last quarter-final spots will be filled on Day 20 of the World Cup in Brazil as Argentina take on Switzerland, and Belgium face the USA in the last 16.
Already the first knockout round has provided quality and tension with the hosts Brazil being pushed all the way by Chile, eventually going through on penalties.
The Belgians and Argentines start as favourites to go through from their respective matches, but they both face tough opposition. An upset is by no means out of the question in either encounter.
Read on for full television and live streaming information as well as start times for Tuesday's matches.
|Date||Time (BST/ET)||Fixture||TV Info||Live Stream|
|July 1||5 p.m./Noon||Argentina vs. Switzerland||BBC1/ESPN||BBC iPlayer/ESPN Player|
|July 1||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Belgium vs. USA||BBC1/ESPN||BBC iPlayer/ESPN Player|
Argentina vs. Switzerland
Argentina face Switzerland in Sao Paulo on Tuesday for probably their toughest test of the tournament so far.
Alejandro Sabella's side won all three of their group games, but they were rarely convincing against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Nigeria, and relied heavily on the goals of Lionel Messi, as Sky Germany football pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft alludes to:
Without Neymar Brazil is nothing. Without Messi Argentina is nothing. Without Germany Müller is nothing.— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) June 30, 2014
They will likely need to step up their game against a strong Swiss side who—while losing 5-2 to France in their group—prevailed 2-1 against Ecuador and 3-0 against Honduras.
The Honduras encounter included a fine hat-trick from Xherdan Shaqiri, who will be key to Swiss chances of making it to the last eight of the Brazil tournament.
However, the threat of Messi must be uppermost in the minds of the Swiss team if they are to pull off a shock result, although coach Ottmar Hitzfeld insists he has no special plans for the Barcelona star, per Blick (via Ed Dove on Goal.com):
Man-to-man marking against Messi? No. [We'll use] a very well-functioning network. In this way each player needs his concentration and attention levels to be extremely high. We must correctly take care of all our essential [roles], be ready to anticipate and be error free. And in this way, we can stop Messi. I don't dream about Messi. I enjoy him when I see him play football. I am a fan of him, like everybody who likes football. However, nothing he does on Tuesday will be able to inspire me, regardless of how successful he is.
Messi has scored four goals in the tournament so far but has effectively carried Argentina, and his teammates need to step up themselves if they are to go all the way.
A well-organised Swiss side will be a stern test, and Argentina will need to improve on their group-stage form.
Belgium vs. USA
Arguably the most difficult last-16 tie to call, the much-fancied Belgians must improve if they are to overcome Jurgen Klinsmann's side in Salvador and reach the quarter-finals.
Pre-tournament, Belgium's collection of young talent had many people excited about the quality of football they were going to produce.
However, in their three narrow group victories they failed to deliver the expected level of performance, but European football writer James Horncastle believes they displayed other qualities:
Belgium not as flash as many were anticipating. Instead, they're impressing by grinding out results— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) June 26, 2014
The USA managed to make it out of a very tough group, which included Germany, Portugal and Ghana, and as such will go into Tuesday's encounter with a great deal of confidence and an often galvanising underdog status.
They have the terrific ability of Clint Dempsey in attack, while ESPN's Jeff Carlisle expects Klinsmann to play relatively defensively with five across the midfield:
I hear everyone's concerns re: Dempsey needing help + possn concerns. I just don't see Klinsmann veering away from def solidity of 4-5-1.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) June 30, 2014
Belgium will find USA tough to break down and could fall victim to an early exit if the Americans can prove effective on the counter-attack.