For the first time in World Cup history, the eight group winners were the eight sides to contest the quarter-finals of the competition.
Unlike the group stages, though, the knockout stages have seen the goals dry up and the action become far more tactical. Indeed, the quarter-final stage was the joint lowest-scoring of any World Cup in history, as per Dave Phillips:
There were no upsets, there were only five goals; but there was still plenty to discuss, controversial moments, one high-profile injury and a dramatic penalty shootout.
Here, we rank the four quarter-finals for their excitement.