The Olympics men's soccer tournament has been dominated by North and South American sides over the last two decades.
Reigning champion Brazil and 2012 gold medalist Mexico are the two teams left in the Tokyo Olympics that can continue the run of victories that dates back to 2004.
During that span, only one European side, Germany in 2016, advanced to the gold-medal game. Spain is the lone hope for UEFA in this competition.
Spain is the strongest side Europe could ask for to bring the gold medal back to the continent that has so many dominant programs.
Spain was consistent enough to win Group C with five points, and its approach may help it navigate through the three games of the knockout round.
Brazil has the flashiest stars left in the competition, with Everton's Richarlison and Dani Alves in the squad.
Mexico could be viewed as a top gold medal contender as well, but Diego Lainez and Co. have a difficult path, starting with a showdown against South Korea.
Men's Soccer Olympics Quarterfinal Schedule
Saturday, July 31
Spain vs. Ivory Coast (4 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Japan vs. New Zealand (5 a.m. ET, USA Network)
Brazil vs. Egypt (6 a.m. ET)
South Korea vs. Mexico (7 a.m. ET, USA Network)
All games can be live-streamed on the NBC Sports app and NBCOlympics.com.
Brazil and Spain should be viewed as the two biggest favorites in their quarterfinal matchups.
Brazil possesses some of the best quality in attack of the final eight squads. The Selecao managed seven goals over three games, and Richarlison was responsible for five of them.
Richarlison has a two-goal advantage on top of the Golden Boot race, and he may be able to secure that title if he bags one or two tallies versus Egypt.
Egypt got into the quarterfinals behind a disciplined approach in which it conceded on a single occasion in 270 minutes.
Egypt will need a strong defensive performance to get past the reigning champion, but that may be hard to accomplish with a handful of players from big European clubs running at its defense.
Spain holds the most comparable roster to Brazil with Pedri, Marco Asensio and Mikel Oyarzabal among the players in the under-23 squad. Three overage players are allowed for each side in the competition.
Spain topped its group through two draws and a win. It did not do many flashy things in the process, which is exactly what we have come to expect from Spanish sides at major tournaments.
La Roja will be expected to methodically break down the Ivory Coast defense and eventually find a few chances to pounce through one of its forwards.
Pedri will dictate the tempo in the quarterfinal contest. He is looking to end a busy summer with a gold medal. He helped Spain's senior team reach the semifinal round at Euro 2020.
Spain was the last men's European team to come away with a gold medal on home soil in Barcelona in 1992. Since then, Cameroon, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina on two occasions took first place.
Mexico has most of its top under-23 players, led by Lainez, in its Olympic squad, which is why it should be viewed as one of the top squads left.
While other European nations may not send their best under-23 players because of their statuses within major club teams, Mexico typically brings its strongest unit.
Mexico produced eight goals in the group stage, and it may need to score a few more to get past a South Korea side that is the dark horse to win the gold.
South Korea topped Group B with six points and 10 goals. The Asian side defeated Romania by four goals and Honduras by six tallies in its last two contests.
Host nation Japan was the only team to earn nine points from the group stage, but it is stuck on Spain's side of the bracket.
Japan can certainly challenge Spain over 90 minutes, but whether it will have enough of the ball in that potential semifinal clash to be ever-present in the final third is up in the air.
Japan should at least get to the semifinals since it faces a New Zealand side that won a single game, its group opener, in Tokyo.