If you’re feeling blue because of that devastating US loss on Tuesday, you’re not alone. But don’t hang your head for too long, — it was a great game, and there’s a lot more World Cup soccer left.
Here’s the lowdown on the quarterfinals matchups, which begin on Friday.
Germany vs. France - Friday, July 4, 12 p.m.
Don’t miss this faceoff between the two European powerhouses in the tournament. Germany escaped with a 2-1 win over Algeria in the Round of 16 in a match they were heavily favored to win. But Algeria pressured the Germans more than they expected, pushing a scoreless game into extra time before Andre Schurrle scored on a cross by Tomas Muller. France looked strong against Nigeria on Monday, powering nine shots on goal in the match with Paul Pogba connecting in the 79th minute. France was only truly tested once this tournament, finding themselves drawn into a relatively weak group. Germany, on the other hand, has had a much more difficult path out of the group stage. If Muller can put pressure on France’s defense as he has done so well in this tournament, Germany will have the advantage in this European battle.
Brazil vs. Columbia – Friday, July 4, 4 p.m.
Has Brazil’s luck finally run out? The host team has not put on a dominant performance all tournament, squeaking by Chile in the Round of 16 with a penalty shootout victory. Colombia, on the other hand, has exceeded all expectations and is fresh off a 2-0 victory over Uruguay. Neymar is doing all he can to power his team through this World Cup, but he will need some support from guys like Fred and Fernandinho. Colombia’s James Rodriguez, who is in the lead right now for the Golden Ball with five goals, has the potential to shock the host nation. Let’s hope Colombia scores at least once in this match, because there’s no doubt they have the best celebration:
Argentina vs. Belgium – Saturday, July 5, 12 p.m.
A classic matchup of youth pitted against experience. Argentina has been here before, and has arguably the world’s greatest scorer in Lionel Messi as the face of their team. But Belgium proved that young legs can be lethal in a 2-1 win over the USA in the knockout round. The Belgians attacked the US half relentlessly all game, pounding 27 shots on net in the match. If they can repeat that kind of high-powered offensive performance, Messi may not be able to save his team. Argentina will need to contain Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne and powerful substitute Romelu Lukaku if they hope to move on.
Netherlands vs. Costa Rica – Saturday, July 5, 4 p.m.
Costa Rica has played with a chip on its shoulder all tournament. Predicted to finish at the bottom of their group, here they are in the final eight with a trip to the semifinals on the line. A strong and experienced Netherlands team that made it to the finals of the 2010 World Cup stands in their way. The loss of midfielder Nigel De Jong to a groin injury is a big hit for the Netherlands, though, and Costa Rica will need to take advantage of his absence. Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas has been stellar in net, but they will need a much stronger offensive push to upset the Netherlands.
What teams do you think will make it into the semifinals? Let us know in the comments section below!
For more World Cup coverage, check out SI Kids’ Guide to the 2014 World Cup!
Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo