By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on July 2, 2014
The Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup was absolutely riveting, with five of the eight matches going to extra time. The eight teams that are left all survived a grueling match against a worthy opponent, and are now one game away from reaching the semi-finals. After everything that’s happened in this tournament, these quarterfinals matches will be impossible to predict, but it never hurts to try, so here it goes...
France has been good all tournament, while Germany peaked early and hasn't been sharp the last couple of games. This game should produce a few goals, but in the end, France will be more effective in the final third and finish more of their chances, winning the battle of these two European powers.
Brazil is lucky to still be in this tournament, whereas Colombia has been one of the most consistent teams throughout the tournament. Unless that changes, this is the point where Brazil gets eliminated; the Colombians are far more balanced, so they'll be able to slow up Neymar, Brazil's lone offensive threat, while also finishing off their chances, pulling off one of the biggest shocks of the tournament.
Lionel Messi has been brilliant at moments during the tournament, but Argentina as a whole hasn't looked so great. On the other side, Belgium has great talent up and down the roster, and if they can show some team cohesion they'll be in great shape. In the end, Messi won't have enough support around him, nor does Argentina have Tim Howard to keep Belgium at bay, putting the tournament's dark horse into the semi-finals.
This is where Costa Rica's magical run comes to an end. The Ticos look dead tired after beating Greece in penalties, and they just won't have enough left in the tank to keep up with Arjen Robben for 90 minutes. Costa Rica will play well and finish a couple of chances to keep things interesting, but in the end the Dutch will be too powerful and just a tad out of their league.
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