With 56 matches played and 154 goals so far scored in this year’s FIFA world cup, Fans of the beautiful game have had more than a mouths full and moneys worth of excitement, goals and drama. Not leaving out the bizarre with the latest episode from Luiz Suarez.
Brazil 2014 has been indeed a South American telenovela and will go down as an epic in world footballing drama series.
The group stages have come and gone, the round 16 went by with flashes of extra-time and we are left with 8 more matches to savour with 8 teams well deserving of their place in the quarter-finals.
From A to H these were the teams who finished as winners in their various groups, winning no less than 2 games, gathering from 7 to 9 points in the process.
Should we be surprised that of all 32 nations that made the trip to Samba land, where football is religion, these 8 – known or unknown in terms of pedigree are the finest this competition has to offer?
Brazil: Hosts, lords of group A and 5 time champions. It is almost safe to say they have a birthright to the quarter finals. Poster boy Neymar has lived up to the billing, they may be under huge pressure but with that comes the home crowd.
Netherlands: 2010 runner-ups but tell that the Spanish who they took apart in the group B opener with vegence for event in South Africa. Many have termed them under-achievers but the Dutch have come here on a mission.
Colombia: Winners in group C and they’ve given us the leading scorer of the tournament so far – James Rodriguez. Good team work and they can score goals. Sporting a dominant yellow, they look like ultimate party spoilers….hopefully not for our hosts.
Costa Rica: The Latin American surprise, shocking the likes of Uruguay, Italy and England to top group D. The Greeks also suffered at their hands with penalty shootouts. They may have more surprises yet in store.
France: They travelled to South America unheralded, not after qualifying through the back door. Group E was quite straight forward for them and Nigeria did not stress them into extra time like most of the other round 16 matches. The French have something going for them, best kept a secret.
Argentina: Strong favourites who also have the Messi factor. The Barcelona man scored in all 3 of their group F wins and it was his dashing run that produced the crucial assist against Switzerland. They mean business this time, but don’t be fooled, it won’t all be about him.
Germany: 7 points taken from group G – the group of death. A pass mark by any standards. They are effective and effecient, Algeria gave a good show but also helped reveal an important point: They know how to adapt, watch out!
Belgium: Talent is abundant here, so made clear with 9 points from group H. They’ve got many options to choose from with the bench providing many match winners so far. You never know what to expect from them.
It is an exclusive club of 8 to belong to and any one of them can lay siege to the crown and there’s much more to expect.
A wise time it is to make your pick.