By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The knock-out phase of the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins today with two matches, and four South American teams in action. Of the eight groups of four sides, the top two in each have progressed to the last sixteen, where a knock-out format will now decide the remainder of the tournament.
At 1PM today, hosts Brazil, who topped Group A, take on Group B runners-up Chile at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. The Seleção Brasileira have a good record against their South American neighbors in World Cup competition – the three previous times they have met, Brazil have prevailed on each occasion.
In the semi-final of the 1962 World Cup, two goals apiece from Garrincha and Vava helped Brazil to a 4-2 win over the hosts. Brazil would go on to win their second successive World Cup title.
In 1998, a hat-trick from Ronaldo saw Brazil beat Chile 4-1, in the second round, just like this afternoon’s clash. And four years ago in South Africa, the two sides met at the very same stage of the competition, where forwards Robinho and Luís Fabiano aided Brazil on their way to a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
Later today, at 5PM, Colombia and Uruguay meet in a second round tie at the Maracanã. The Colombians are in fine form, having won all three of their games during the group stages. Uruguay, meanwhile, are in chaos. Headlines have been dominated by Luís Suarez and the incident now being dubbed “Bitegate” following his attack on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, have banned the Liverpool striker for nine international fixtures and four months from all football, meaning the World Cup is over for Suarez. The ban is a huge blow to Uruguay, who must now try to pave their way forward in the tournament without their key weapon. According to sources at the Uruguayan FA they plan to lodge an appeal with FIFA within the next few days.
Full Second Round Bracket:
Brazil v Chile, Today, 1PM Mineirão
Colombia v Uruguay, Today, 5PM, Maracanã
Holland v Mexico, Tomorrow, 1PM, Castelão
Costa Rica v Greece, Tomorrow, 5PM Arena Pernambuco
France v Nigeria, Monday, 1PM, Estádio Mané Garrincha
Germany v Algeria, Monday, 5PM Estádio Beira-Rio
Argentina v Switzerland, Tuesday, 1PM Arena Corinthians
Belgium v USA, Tuesday, 5PM Arena Fonte Nova
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