By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on June 28, 2014
The Group Stage of the 2014 World Cup is over and we’re down to the final 16 teams. Obviously, with a few notable teams missing, these probably aren’t the best 16 teams in the world, but there’s no denying that this is a formidable group of teams still competing for a world championship. These may not be the best teams still alive, but here are the five toughest teams still alive that nobody wants to play.
They aren't the traditional powerhouse that most teams will fear playing, but they've been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament thus far. They have great players up and down their lineup, and they've been arguably the most consistent team during the Group Stage. They look poised to make some noise during the Knockout Round.
The French have lit up the scoreboard like few other teams have in this tournament. Scoring five goals against the vaunted Swiss defense definitely looks intimidating for opponents, and preventing them from scoring will be a tough task for any team that play in the Knockout Round.
The Brazilians haven't been the most impressive team in this tournament, but they still have an overwhelming array of talent, especially Neymar, who strikes fear in any opponent. If Brazil starts to play better during the Knockout Stage, the home crowd will get behind them and they'll be a tough team to beat.
It's tough to find a better goal-scoring tandem in this World Cup than Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, and that's even without Wesley Sneijder playing his best. More importantly, the Dutch have been better than expected on defense, making them a balanced team that will be the toughest team to beat on their side of the bracket, giving them a clear path back to the finals.
The Germans have the deepest roster of any team in the tournament, with world-class players coming off the bench. Other than their usual second-game let down at a World Cup, the Germans have been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament, and it's going to take a massive letdown on their part or a herculean effort by an opponent to knock them out of the World Cup.
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