The table-toppers from the group stages proved their World Cup credentials as the competition's best teams in the first knockout round, with all eight qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The round of 16 proved a much tighter affair than the first two weeks of the tournament, as free-flowing football was replaced with a knockout mentality.
Five matches went all the way to extra time, some even beyond, to decide who progressed to the last eight.
Here are all the results from the round of 16:
|Brazil v Chile||1-1 (Brazil win 3-2 on pens)|
|Colombia v Uruguay||2-0|
|Netherlands v Mexico||2-1|
|Costa Rica v Greece||1-1 (Costa Rica win 5-3 on pens)|
|France v Nigeria||2-0|
|Germany v Algeria||2-1|
|Argentina v Switzerland||1-0|
|Belgium v USA||2-1|
Best Round of 16 Match — Belgium v USA
The World Cup saved the best until last as Belgium edged out the USA in a thrilling round of 16 match in Salvador.
Belgium were hot favourites before the game due to their talented squad, full to the brim with quality and guile in the shape of Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany and Co.
With the game goalless at the end of 90 pulsating minutes, they brought on Romelu Lukaku, who changed the contest. Over a 12-minute period, Belgium found themselves up 2-0 after goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Lukaku.
The USA looked dead and buried but then inexplicably mounted a wonderful comeback. In the second half of extra time, the Americans performed heroics with Julian Green's 107th-minute effort making it 2-1 and setting up a grandstand finish.
The USA threw everything at Belgium and came close several times to finding a dramatic equaliser, but it was not to be.
So the Belgians made their way into the quarter-finals, but it was the Americans who came away proud and with a whole new set of admirers.
The reaction from the public after the game was clear with the USA receiving plaudits far and wide. ESPN's Roger Bennett commented about USMNT's amazing efforts after the match:
Just asked Jermaine Jones what gave US Rocky-esque energy in last 15 mins v Belgium "The Chants of USA! USA! USA! coming down from the fans"— roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 2, 2014
It was a great night for football and perfectly displayed what this World Cup is all about. The USA are now fully inducted into the global football community after proving they have a team and the national passion to compete on the biggest stage.
Best Player — James Rodriguez
The hype that now surrounds Colombia's James Rodriguez has reached fever point.
His nation have cruised into the quarter-finals with their beautiful attacking play, and they are now many people's outside bets to win the competition.
James scored twice as Colombia eliminated a Uruguay side swimming in yet another Luis Suarez scandal.
And Rodriguez's first strike was arguably the goal of the tournament so far―a beautiful chest control and swivel, finished off with a piledriver of a volley from outside of the penalty area.
It was one of the World Cup's truly special moments and will be replayed for many years to come.
Rodriguez and company have the ability to go all of the way in the competition, but they are yet to be truly tested against one of the world's top teams.
That test will now come against Brazil.
Team That Needs to Improve — Brazil
In many ways, Brazil are an easy target when assessing which team needs to up their game in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Germany and Argentina, both hot favourites just days ago, also flattered to deceive as they struggled against lesser opposition in the round of 16 and group stage.
Brazil looked nervous in their round of 16 match against a Chile team full of vigour and spice. And now they face South American opposition again, taking on a Colombian team who have even more class than their last opponents.
Brazil looked weighed down by the burden of expectancy, and you cannot escape the fact their team is not as good as home fans would want.
Will Brazil win the World Cup?
Yes, they are full of star names, but the likes of Hulk and Fred would struggle to get into any of the big teams' first XIs.
Brazil need to play to their maximum against the Colombians. Otherwise, the end of their tournament could come on Friday and, with that, the exit of a certain romance from this competition.