Thirty-two teams started this World Cup. Now, 16 game days in, only 16 teams remain. Sayonara, Japan. Até mais, Portugal. G'day, Australia. до свидания, Russia.
You get the point. It was a group stage round-robin for the ages, but now it's time for knockout games. The importance of every match is now exponentiated tenfold. It's win or go home. Each team will leave it all on the field. But when the smoke clears, like Highlander, there can be only one.
In the spirit of the tournament's changing format, I'm switching mine up for a day, too. Below you'll find a brief synopsis of today's contenders, along with their chances of making it all the way to the final. I'm keeping it brief because I'd prefer to let the players do the talking…with their feet (sounded better in my head). Anyway, there are two HUGE games today, featuring all your South American favorites! Let's get to it.
BRAZIL VS. CHILE Brazil: Has looked suspect at times in the group, but Neymar's genius concealed other blemishes. If he continues his run of form, look out world. The host nation will be tough to beat with the whole country in their corner. They win today, 2-1. Chances of "winning": 8 out of 10 Charlie Sheens
Chile: La Roja are suffering from déjà vu, as they faced off against the Canarinhos in 2010's knockout stage. They're hoping the results aren't the same (3-0 Brazil) today, but as impressive as they've been, history repeats itself. Beating Brazil on their home turf will prove too much, and Chile watch the final from afar. Chances of "making a run for it": 4 out of 10 Ford Broncos
COLOMBIA VS. URUGUAY Colombia: Have to be considered a dark horse to win it all. They pretty much coasted out of Group C, led by the mercurial young James (pronounced Hi-Mez) Rodriguez. Don't be surprised if Colombia end up playing Germany in the semis. Chances they "cruise" to the final: 6 out of 10 Top Guns
Uruguay: Not a chance, and they have their best player's (Luis Suarez) penchant for human flesh to thank. There's too much distraction right now for anyone to take La Celeste seriously. What should have been a bright and sunny day for Uruguay as a team and nation is now shrouded in stormy uneasiness. Colombia send them packing, 0-2. Chances they "paint a fútbol masterpiece": 1 out of 10 Van Goghs
Match Day Dish: Brazilian Feijoada (Brazil) Today's big winners will likely be the gracious hosts, so it's only right we celebrate with feijoada, which is a delicious stew made with pork and beans. And—how apropos—it's normally served in Brazil on special occasions! Start whipping some up before the games today (takes a while to prepare), take some pictures of your dish, and send them in to our Instagram account with the hashtag #CLKickingDishes for a chance to win prizes (details here). Remember, today it's all or nothing, so enjoy every minute! Happy World Cup day 16, everyone. Cheers.
Brazilian Feijoada Total Time: 9 hrs. 47 min.
- 2 cups dried black beans
- 4 applewood-smoked bacon slices
- 1 (1-pound) boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 3 bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed (about 2 pounds)
- 3 cups finely chopped onion (about 2 medium)
- 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (9-ounce) smoked ham hock
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 8 orange wedges