Two of the most dominant teams in the group stage were, for the first time, on the wrong end of an overwhelming performance in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup bracket.
Germany and France had combined for 19 goals entering their Day 23 showdown. A shootout wouldn't have shocked a soul, but it was anything but. Thirteen minutes in, Germany's Mats Hummels scored to put it ahead 1-0, and that's the score Germany won by.
They split the time of possession 50-50. France finished with an edge in shots on goal, nine to Germany's six, but German goalie Manuel Neuer's five saves sealed the victory.
Brazil's goalie, Julio Cesar, didn't need an equally impressive performance for his team to win.
Cesar recorded just one save, but Colombia only managed to attempt two shots on goal. It had scored 11 goals entering the match, but a James Rodriguez penalty kick 80 minutes in was all Colombia could muster. And Brazil won by the score of 2-1.
Thiago Silva scored seven minutes in to give Brazil the lead, and David Luiz scored 69 minutes in to pad it. Rodriguez is eliminated, but with six goals in the World Cup, two more than any other player, his odds are high to win the Golden Boot award.
Here's how to watch the remainder of the quarterfinals, as well as predictions for the future fixtures which are set in stone.
|2014 World Cup Quarterfinals Schedule|
|Sat., July 5||12 p.m.||Argentina vs. Belgium||ABC|
|Sat., July 5||4 p.m.||Netherlands vs. Costa Rica||ESPN|
Argentina vs. Belgium
While Lionel Messi has been one of the most valuable players in the World Cup, Argentina may not be where it is without its defensive dominance. It allowed just one goal per game in the group stage and shut out Switzerland, which had been averaging over two per game. Of course, Belgium's defense has been even more dominant.
It allowed just one goal the entire group stage and held the United States scoreless for 106 minutes in the round of 16. Belgium's issue is whether it will be able to outscore a Messi-led team. Odds Shark lists Argentina as a 61-50 favorite, but those are hardly convincing odds.
Don't expect either team to score multiple goals. And a shootout will likely be the determining factor, which would favor Argentina and a man named Messi.
Prediction: 0(3)-0(2), Argentina on penalty kicks
Netherlands vs. Costa Rica
After going undefeated in the group stage, neither Netherlands nor Costa Rica played outstanding in the round of 16. Netherlands needed goals in the 88th and 94th minutes to edge Mexico, and Costa Rica needed a shootout to sneak by Greece.
Both will look to bounce back and build momentum for the semifinals. And Netherlands are more likely to pull that off. According to Odds Shark, Costa Rica enters as a major 677-100 underdog to triumph. While it's been underestimated all tournament long, it hasn't faced a team as gifted offensively as Netherlands yet.
Costa Rica has only scored two goals since defeating a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay, 3-1, in its opener. And it's facing the highest-scoring team in the World Cup, Netherlands, having notched 12 goals in four matches. Costa Rica's magical run will end on Saturday.
Prediction: 2-1, Netherlands
Brazil vs. Germany
This match will arguably feature the two best teams in the World Cup. Brazil started the tournament slow, but it imposed its will on a hot Colombia team. Germany started hot and stayed on fire against France.
Germany's greatest question mark is its offense. It's only scored one goal in two out of its past three matches. Since getting shut out by Mexico, Brazil has scored seven times in three matches, but it will be without its top goalscorer:
This match still has the potential to be the most entertaining of the World Cup yet. And the winner should be favored entering the final. It could go either way, but with Silva out due to a yellow-card ban—according to Goal.com—and Neymar out with an injury, Germany has a clear edge.
Prediction: 2-1, Germany
(The Winners of Argentina vs. Belgium and Netherlands vs. Costa Rica will also play.)
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.
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