World Cup Group of 16, Knockout Round, gets underway 6/28-7/1

Brazil's World Cup team.

Brazil’s World Cup team.

By Carmen Glover

An exciting, unpredictable, first round of the 2014 World Cup football (soccer to some) tournament ended with the USA team gaining entry to the Knockout Round of 16 while football powerhouses Ghana, Portugal, Italy, England and defending champions Spain made quick exits amidst a cloud of questions about their future. Will they revamp their rosters? Will they hire new coaches? For all the hype that surrounded Portugal’s Cristiana Ronaldo, dubbed the best player in the world, he was a colossal bust and seemed to be more concerned with preening than delivering for his team and his ball club.

Costa Rica's World Cup Team.

Costa Rica’s World Cup Team.

It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to make the early exiting teams more competitive for World Cup 2018. While the exiting teams sort out their next steps, the Knockout Round for the 2014 World Cup begins and excitement appears to be at a fever pitch, especially for the American team which has won new fans, after doing what seemed like the impossible by making it out of the Group of Death, and the Costa Rican team which emerged from the Group of Champions in first place, despite being the only team in that group that has never won the World Cup trophy.

The USA World Cup Team.

The USA World Cup Team.

The Knockout Round features 16 teams who will face fierce competition as each team tries to advance to the other rounds that bring them closer to the finals. The winning team will advance while the losing team will head home. No second match. No chance for redemption. The first match of the Knockout Round will feature Brazil taking on Chile on Saturday at 12 noon on Channel 7 while Uruguay takes on Colombia at 4: 00 p.m. In the meantime, perennial bad boy Luis Suarez, was banned for four months from all World Cup and football related events and fined $112, 000 for yet another biting incident, for which he seems totally unremorseful. So he will not play against Colombia and will not play in early games for his Liverpool club.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

So far in the World Cup tournament, the African teams have not done well. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon have returned home after poor showings, while Nigeria and Algeria are still in the mix. One of the problems this World Cup faces with perception is the total exclusion of English-speaking Caribbean nations, which is an issue that has garnered a great deal of attention and is expected to generate heated debate when the tournament ends. The schedule of the Knockout Round is as follows:

The Netherlands' World Cup Team.

The Netherlands’ World Cup Team.

Saturday, June 28, Brazil vs. Chile on Channel 7 and Univision at 12:00 noon, Colombia vs. Uruguay at 4;00 p.m. On Sunday, June 29, Netherlands vs. Mexico at 12 noon on ESPN, and Univision; Costa Rica vs. Greece at 4;00 p.m. Monday, June 30, France vs. Nigeria at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and Germany vs. Algeria at 4;00 p.m. On Tuesday, Argentina vs. Switzerland at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and USA vs. Belgium at 4:00 p.m.

If you have not had a chance to catch the matches so far, treat yourself to what will be an intense, nail-biting Knockout Round that will provide unmatched entertainment. Happy viewing! –