The round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup is now over, and eight teams, including a few surprises, are heading into the quarterfinals.
With Tuesday's matches now wrapped up, the teams will get a couple of days to prepare for the quarterfinals, which start on Friday with two great matchups. Two phenoms in James Rodriguez and Neymar will be looking to lead their respective teams to victory, while two squads loaded with talent in France and Germany will be playing in a European clash.
Now that only eight teams remain, here is a look at the fixtures from Day 20 along with the updated bracket.
World Cup Bracket
The entire World Cup bracket can be viewed courtesy of FIFA.com.
Argentina 1, Switzerland 0
It doesn't seem to matter which two teams are playing each other, because so many of the knockout-stage matches have had thrilling endings. That was the case once again between Argentina and Switzerland, as the two fought until the very end.
Heading into the match, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella understood how important this match was for his team.
“This is another stage and there is no margin for error," Sabella told Miguel Delaney from The Independent. "In the group stage, there is always the possibility to recover. Not now. We know we have to be very concentrated. Every error now is more costly, also because of the level of the opposition."
Sabella was correct, because Argentina were unable to score during the first two halves. They were the more aggressive team, but Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio had a great match, fending off Argentina for well over 100 minutes.
The teams entered extra time in a scoreless draw, but even Benaglio couldn't hold off Argentina forever. With just two minutes remaining in extra time, Lionel Messi found Angel Di Maria for the go-ahead goal and eventually the victory. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Di Maria's goal was the second-latest game-winner in World Cup history:
Ángel di María's 118th-minute goal was the second-latest game-winner in #WorldCup history. (ITA Fabio Grosso scored in 119' in 2006 vs GER).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 1, 2014
Blerim Dzemaili nearly had a game-tying goal shortly after, but his first shot hit the post, then he missed a tap-in on the rebound. With the 1-0 win, Argentina will play Belgium, but they may need to change their strategy. As Squawka Football pointed out, the team attempted more crosses than anyone else in a match this World Cup with 52.
With a player like Lionel Messi on their side, Argentina may not have to change things up. Regardless, they'll still be the favorites to win their next match.
Belgium 2, United States 1
One of the more intriguing matchups in the round of 16 was between Belgium and the United States, and the match didn't disappoint.
The two sides weren't able to score in the first half, but that didn't mean that it wasn't full of close calls. Both sides had a few near misses thanks to some great defensive play, but Belgium were the more aggressive team, getting nine shots on target to Team USA's three. However, the United States actually did a better job controlling possession, holding the ball 53 percent of the time.
With another scoreless first half, ESPN's Paul Carr pointed out that it had been six straight first halves in World Cup matches without a goal.
Six straight first halves without a goal at this World Cup, the second-longest streak in WC history (1990: 8).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) July 1, 2014
One of the bigger concerns in the first half for the United States was the injury to Fabian Johnson, a key defender on the roster. Fortunately, as Nancy Armour from USA Today pointed out, DeAndre Yedlin did a very nice job replacing him, showing off plenty of speed.
The second half featured even more drama, but the United States struggled to get shots off. Meanwhile, Belgium took shot after shot, as Tim Howard kept making some crucial saves. Near the end of the second half, Howard had already recorded 10 saves, while the entire team had 20 blocks, according to Squawka Football.
Team USA had some chances from time to time, but none were better than Chris Wondolowski's, as he had an open shot that sailed high with the second half nearly over, forcing the game into extra time.
That missed opportunity ended up costing Team USA. Just three minutes into extra time, Kevin De Bruyne scored for Belgium, giving them the 1-0 lead. Howard kept trying to keep the game intact for the United States, recording 15 saves, which was the most in a World Cup match since 1966, according to Numbers Never Lie.
Tim Howard now has 15 saves. That's the most saves in a World Cup game since 1966. #BELvsUSA— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) July 1, 2014
Unfortunately, because of the inability to create scoring chances and constant pressure from Belgium, Team USA gave up a second goal in the 105th minute from Romelu Lukaku. Things seemed over, but the United States had an unbelievable answer from 19-year-old Julian Green.
The United States were able to turn it on after that goal, but they were unable to add another one, coming away with a heartbreaking loss. Still, with how hard they fought throughout the match, they truly left it all on the field.
A young Belgium squad will now be looking to continue to prove itself against Argentina. It will be a much different match, as Argentina have plenty of offensive firepower.