The World Cup’s round of 16 begins Saturday with an all-South American slate of games (all times EDT):
Brazil vs. Chile in Belo Horizonte, noon, ABC
Colombia vs. Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro, 4 p.m., ABC
At stake: Saturday’s winners square off in the quarterfinals on Friday at 4 p.m. in Fortaleza.
Brazil vs. Chile
The hosts have never lost to Chile on Brazilian soil and last lost to their continent-mates anywhere in a 2000 World Cup qualifier. But Brazil Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has been touting the Chileans as a threat for months, and La Roja looked strong in finishing second behind the Netherlands in Group B play. “When I talked about Chile then, people made fun of me, they said Chile wasn’t good enough,” Scolari said, per the Associated Press. “But I already knew the work of coach [Jorge] Sampaoli and their players. We already knew how they played.” Still, Brazil will be a favorite to advance to the quarterfinals, something it has done in every World Cup since 1990, when it lost to Argentina in the second round.
Colombia vs. Uruguay
Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, as we all know, was suspended by FIFA for four months after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in their final group-stage match on Tuesday. Suarez scored two of Uruguay’s four group-stage goals, both against England in the second game. Uruguay is hoping that Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan can step up to provide some scoring punch, but neither has been much of a factor so far. For Colombia, James Rodriguez has filled the void left by the injured Radamel Falcao, scoring three goals and assisting on two others.
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