The World Cup had its first actual day off on June 27. But it was only the calm before the storm, as the next round of the World Cup will unfold over the next four days. Now every match is do or die and there will be no more ties, as today’s second round matches will determine a winner even if it takes 120 minutes or penalty kicks.
All of Brazil hopes it won’t take that much to decide the first second round match. Judging by past history, it shouldn’t, given how Brazil has beaten Chile in the round of 16 in the 1998 and 2010 World Cup. The odds seem good for the Brazilians to deliver a three-peat against Chile in Teresopolis at noon est.
However, the Chileans already defied the odds to get to the knockout stage, winning second place in a group that included Spain and the Netherlands. But while defending champion Spain crumbled, the Netherlands did roll over Chile in the second half of its last match, which sent the Chileans to another do or die match with Brazil.
Although the Brazilians struggled in their first two World Cup matches, this is the right time for them to round back into form. Should they make it back to the quarterfinals, the pressure will build, since Brazil was eliminated in the round of eight in 2006 and 2010.
Some nations are unfamiliar with going that far in this tournament, like Columbia. But at 4 p.m. est, the Columbians can make history by winning their first ever game in the knockout stage. Opponent Uruguay is more experienced, since it made the semifinals in 2010 and gutted its way past group play in 2014.
Yet all the buzz around Uruguay revolves around the man who won’t be playing today, or playing anywhere for at least four months. Luis Suarez’s latest biting incident took him out of the World Cup, leaving Uruguay rather shorthanded against the unbeaten Columbians. Will that be too much to overcome for the Uruguayans, or will it give them enough of a chip on their shoulder?
16 nations made it through their first three matches, leaving four more to go for the eventual champion. Two teams will get one step closer to that end game, with the knockout stage openers airing on ABC.