World Cup Quarter-Finals: What We Can Expect from the Last 8

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World Cup Quarter-Finals: What We Can Expect from the Last 8
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The group stage has long since ended; the round of 16 reached its conclusion on Tuesday. All of a sudden the 2014 FIFA World Cup has gone from 32 teams to eight, and by Saturday night, the participants will have dwindled to four.

Where the first phase of the tournament featured a swashbuckling, take-no-prisoners approach that resulted in some high-profile upsets, the first knockout round was a cautious, organised affair in which the goalkeepers were often the stars.

The quarter-finals could well be similar, what with the spectre of victory becoming ever closer, and in none of the four ties does there seem to be a clear-cut favourite. (Although if this World Cup has taught one thing, it’s that the favourite’s tag never meant anything, anyway.)

Rarely has the last eight of a World Cup been such a toss-up, but over the next few slides we’ll do our best to provide some separation between the competitors who will perform for us on Friday and Saturday.

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