2014 World Cup TV schedule: Who to watch Saturday, June 28
The first match of the day features Brazil vs. Chile. This could be a close contest. Later, Colombia plays Uruguay. Colombia is expected to dominate.
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
And, of course, it's the start of the 2014 World Cup Knockout Round. Sixteen teams, eight matches. The intensity and passions will rise as the teams enter the Sudden Death stage of the World Cup: In every match, the loser goes home.
Brazil is favored to win, but this will not be a walk in the park for the host nation. Chile is a formidable attacking team that had just one loss in the final match of the group stage, against The Netherlands.
The Netherlands have offered Brazil a creative template for defeating Chile, as described by Ken Boehlke at CBS:
Chile have been an impressive side thus far but ran into a brick wall in their final group game against the Netherlands. La Roja had been enjoying the first two matches of the tournament pressing midfielders and then finding heaps of space in front of opposing defenses. The Dutch allowed none of it. Holland opted to sit back and let Chile come at them rather than forcing possession and allowing Chile to try and turn them over. The Chileans looked lost and were almost begging Alexis Sanchez or Eduardo Vargas to break down the Dutch defense.
But it would be surprising if Brazil was as disciplined or cagey as the Dutch were against Chile.
Brazil's Neymar has lived up to all the hype, but their coach will be looking to get more out of Fred, who has underperformed. SBNation's Jack Sargeant says that while Brazil has played well enough, it needs to take it to another level if it hopes to win the World Cup.
Unlike at last year's Confederations Cup, when Brazil looked like a terrifyingly cohesive unit, they've looked rather disjointed so far, relying on moments of individual brilliance to bail them out. If they can't find a way to recapture last year's form, and link their midfield and attack more effectively, they'll eventually be found out.
Expect a relatively slow dance initially - like two prize fighters warming up - and then watch out.
Colombia's offensive prowess was on full display through the Group round - which they won for the first time ever. The team scored 9 goals, in a World Cup that has set a new record for goals thus far – 136 of them in 48 matches. Colombia's defense has been tough as well, allowing only 2 goals through three games.
While there were concerns that the loss of the injured Radamel Falcao might hurt Colombia, James Rodriguez emerged as the national team star. Rodriguiez has scored three goals and delivered two assists. He’s already been involved in more goals than any other Colombian in World Cup history, according to the Daily Mail.
Of course, Uruguay will miss its star biter, er, striker Luis Suarez who made an early exit from the World Cup due to his mandibule moment this week. Suarez was suspended by FIFA from playing in the next nine international matches, banned from any football activity for four months, banned from entering any stadium where the Uruguay national team is playing, and must pay a fine of $112,000.
Expect Colombia to score early, and win handily.