Saturday's early game between Uruguay and South Korea—the knockout stage's first—features two sides with most of their talent up front.
Uruguay's Diego Forlan, with two goals to his credit, and his strike partner Luis Suarez lead the charge ahead of suspect service from their midfield.
Korean rising star Lee Chung-Yong, on the other hand, can count on the industry and relentlessness of Manchester United veteran Park Ji-Sung on the ball.
The difference between the teams, though, is in back. Where Uruguay have yet to concede despite facing France pre-implosion and a Mexican side full of creative attacking talent, South Korea gave up four goals to Argentina—the only team in Group B whose forwards compare to Forlan and Suarez.
In this match, expect a similar result: Uruguay 3, South Korea 1.
The late game between United States and Ghana has been billed as a rematch of those teams' clash in the 2006 group stage, which went 2-1 to the Black Stars of Ghana.
Significant changes have altered the landscape between the two, though, and will likely produce a quite different result.
All-world Ghanian midfielder Michael Essien's absence, to start with, is crucial for the side which stunned the hopeful Yanks four years ago. Sans Essien—a strong, indefatigable ball winner—Ghana have struggled to possess the ball and to organize going forward.
The Americans, in contrast, are four years more experienced than the raw 11 who suited up in 2006—and nowhere moreso than in goal, where Premiership keeper Tim Howard is an elite talent at the height of his powers.
U.S.A. were slow starters in their three group-stage games, but it's hard to see them conceding against a Ghanaian side so short on tactical sophistication: United States 1, Ghana 0.