World Cup Round of 16
Tim Howard of the United States and Miroslav Klose of Germany shake hands after Germany's 1-0 win during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil group G match between the United States and Germany at Arena Pernambuco on June 26, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. Jamie McDonald—Getty Images

World Cup Cheat Sheet: The Final 16

Jun 27, 2014

It’s been a terrific World Cup, filled with goals, drama and little bit of scandal. How will it play out? Here’s a rundown of the final 16:

Brazil vs. Chile. (Saturday, 12 p.m. EDT)

Brazil’s strategy has been to get the ball to Neymar and see how far he can dribble. So far, so good. The kid has the goods. But we’ve also seen that Brazil can be vulnerable. Both Croatia and Mexico, not exactly brimming with offense, gave Brazil’s defense fits. Chile has a real threat in Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez, and enough international pedigree to make this interesting, but it’s tough to see the home side going out.

Colombia vs. Uruguay. (Saturday, 4 p.m.)

Colombia is missing its leading scorer, Radamel Falcao, through injury. Uruguay is missing its leading scorer, Luis Suarez, through idiocy. Without the talented but toothy Suarez, Uruguay’s offense has lost some bite, obviously. Colombia rollicked through group play on the wings of midfielder James Rodriguez, blasting Greece 3-0 and Japan 4-1 while besting Ivory Coast 2-1. Uruguay was a mediocre side in a mediocre group. It’s time for them to join Suarez and go home.

Netherlands vs. Mexico. (Sunday, 12 noon)

At what point will the Dutch disappoint? That’s always the question at major tournaments. They destroyed defending champs Spain, rolled past a game-but-outgunned Australia and dismissed Chile in a meaningless third game. Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie have been running riot. Mexico barely qualified for the tournament, but its confidence has been growing with every game. Then again, this where El Tri typically takes El Hike.

Costa Rica vs. Greece. (Sunday 4 p.m.)

Two of the surprise packages, the Ticos were nobody’s favorite to survive a group with England, Uruguay and Italy, but they ripped Uruguay apart then stunned a static Italy 1-0. Greece got dismembered by Colombia, drew with Japan in an awful match then let Ivory Coast gift them a penalty kick for a 2-1 win to advance. Yup: Greeks bearing gifts and all that. The Greeks are grinders; they are going to make life difficult for Costa Rica.

France vs. Nigeria. (Monday, 12 p.m.)

The French have served notice that Les Bleus sont formidable. The Nigerians have served notice that they really don’t deserve this spot, but somebody had to get it. In group play, the Super Eagles couldn’t get past the massed ranks of Iran, and beat Bosnia-Herzegovina because a linesman waved off a legit B-H goal. They aren’t likely to be so fortunate against a French team brimming with verve, what with Karim Benzema and Olivia Giroud ripping goals and a defense filled with tons of international experience.

Germany vs. Algeria. (Monday 4 p.m.)

The North Africans are a team you really don’t want to play against, because they don’t give a damn about your European pedigree. They go after it with a wide-open style that caused problems for even the fancied Belgians. But Germany is a different story. Look for Germany’s precision passing and possession to pick apart Algerian aggression. It could get ugly.

Argentina vs. Switzerland. (Tuesday, 12 noon)

The Swiss have been entertaining all right, but there’s nothing in their play to indicate that they can compete with Argentina. The Swiss lack the speed, the talent and the depth of Argentina. They also lack the Messi of Argentina, who is putting his personal stamp on this tournament.

United States vs. Belgium (Tuesday 4 p.m.)

The Belgians may be more talented than Germany, with stars like Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany. But they have struggled to pull away from the likes of Russia and South Korea. The Americans’ experience in escaping the Group of Death—three difficult games—has molded them into a confident crew. If the Yanks can get up a goal, they aren’t going down.

32 Most Memorable Moments of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Brazil's Fred sits on the pitch as Croatian players Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Rakitic protest after the referee called a penalty against Croatia during the group A World Cup soccer match in the opening game of the tournament at Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.
Brazil's Fred sits on the pitch as Croatian players Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Rakitic protest after the referee called a penalty against Croatia during the group A World Cup soccer match in the opening game of the tournament at Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.Frank Augstein—AP
Brazil's Fred sits on the pitch as Croatian players Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Rakitic protest after the referee called a penalty against Croatia during the group A World Cup soccer match in the opening game of the tournament at Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.
Robin van Persie of the Netherlands scores the teams first goal with a diving header in the first half during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Netherlands at Arena Fonte Nova on June 13, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates with the match ball after scoring against Uruguay during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Castelao stadium in Fortaleza on June 14, 2014.
Masato Morishige and Yuto Nagatomo of Japan challenge Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Japan at Arena Pernambuco on June 14, 2014 in Recife, Brazil.
Honduras' goalkeeper Noel Valladares bundles a shot from France's Karim Benzema, far right, into his net for an own goal during the group E World Cup soccer match between France and Honduras at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil on June 15, 2014.
Thomas Mueller of Germany shoots and scores his team's fourth goal and completes his hat trick past Rui Patricio of Portugal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.
Pepe of Portugal argues with Thomas Müller of Germany and gives him a headbutt during to the FIFA World Cup 2014 group G preliminary round match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova Stadium in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil on June 16, 2014.
Referee Milorad Mazic uses vanishing spray to mark where the Germany wall must stand for a Portugal free kick during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova.
Clint Dempsey of the United States reacts after scoring his team's first goal past goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey of Ghana during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Ghana and the United States at Estadio das Dunas on June 16, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.
Igor Akinfeev of Russia fails to save a shot by Lee Keun-Ho of South Korea for South Korea's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Russia and South Korea at Arena Pantanal on June 17, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico makes a save after a header by Thiago Silva of Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Australia v Netherlands: Group B - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Match highlights are screened after the 2014 World Cup Group B soccer match between Spain and Chile at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on June 18, 2014.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 19, 2014.
Lionel Messi of Argentina shoots and scores his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Iran at Estadio Mineirao on June 21, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Germany's Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring against Ghana during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, Brazil on June 21, 2014.
US goalkeeper Tim Howard reacts after a goal from Portugal's forward Silvestre Varela during a Group G match between USA and Portugal at the Amazonia Arena in Manau. Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 22, 2014.
Spain's David Villa scores the team's first goal during the group B World Cup soccer match between Australia and Spain at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil on June 23, 2014.
Brazil's Neymar shoots to score against Cameroon during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia, Brazil on June 23, 2014.
Mexico's coach Miguel Herrera celebrates Andres Guardado's goal during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Pernambuco arena in Recife, Brazil on June 23, 2014.
Giorgio Chiellini claims he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez during the FIFA World Cup 2014 group D preliminary round match between Italy and Uruguay at the Estadio Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil on June 24, 2014.
Soccer Fans Gather To Watch US v Germany World Cup Match
Mauricio Pinilla of Chile shoots and hits the cross bar as goalkeeper Julio Cesar of Brazil looks on during the match between Brazil and Chile at Estadio Mineirao on June 28, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Colombia's James Rodriguez scores a goal past Uruguay's Diego Godin, Alvaro Pereira, and Egidio Arevalo Rios during their game at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on June 28, 2014.
Rafael Marquez gets called for a foul against Arjen Robben of the Netherlands in the box during the match between the Netherlands and Mexico at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil on June 29, 2014.
Theofanis Gekas of Greece hits the post during a shootout in the match between Costa Rica and Greece at Arena Pernambuco on June 29, 2014 in Recife, Brazil.
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Brazil's Fred sits on the pitch as Croatian players Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Rakitic protest after the refe
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Frank Augstein—AP
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