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Jun 27, 2014

A statistical look at the round of 16

WhoScored's rankings suggest Netherlands are the team to fear in the round of 16.
WhoScored's rankings suggest Netherlands are the team to fear in the round of 16.

The group stages of the 2014 World Cup have been record-breaking. An incredible 136 goals were scored over the 48 games at an average of 2.83 per match. It's understandable that many are sad they are over.

While unfortunately it moves us closer to the culmination of the tournament, the process also sees the best teams -- in theory at least -- filter through to the round 16. WhoScored.com take a look at the group stage stats of those who have made it to the knockout rounds.

All team assessments

Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Finalists: Argentina
Winners: Germany

Brazil vs. Chile

Perhaps the most hotly anticipated match is up first on Saturday as hosts Brazil entertain one of the fan-favourites of the tournament. Luiz Felipe Scolari's side haven't really found their groove as of yet. Neymar inspired them in the group stages but he cannot shoulder the responsibility of delivering the World Cup alone. The likes of Oscar (8.40 WhoScored.com rating) and the aforementioned Neymar (8.39) have shone for the Selecao, though there is a feeling the likes of Fred (7.06), Paulinho (6.58) and Hulk have been carried thus far (6.29).

Jorge Sampaoli's Chile side have won the plaudits due to their high pressing style and impressive energy levels, forcing errors and hitting sides on the counter. Their makeshift defence has been superb, while the likes of Alexis Sanchez have thrilled in attack. This all South American clash has come about despite Chile struggling to get their shots in during the group stages. They only took 26 shots -- the second lowest behind Iran.

Colombia vs. Uruguay

Jose Pekerman's side have undoubtedly been one of the strongest in the tournament to date. Their team rating from WhoScored.com of 7.15 -- ranking them third in the group stages -- highlights as much. They are one of only four teams to emerge from their group with maximum points, while only one side scored more goals (9). Though they've been solid at the back it has been the exploits of Juan Cuadrado (7.80 rating) and in particular James Rodriguez (8.68) that have wowed the fans, with the latter the tournament's third top rated player thus far.

Uruguay successfully recovered from a dismal first showing against Costa Rica (we'll come to them later) with victories against England and Italy -- though neither game was without its fair share of controversy. Clinical finishing from Luis Suarez proved the difference against the Three Lions, with the same player in the headlines for all the wrong reasons against Italy as Diego Godin (who perhaps should have seen red against England and been suspended) scored a late winner. Only Iran had a lower pass accuracy in the group stages (74%) and of the teams to progress, just one had a lower team rating from WhoScored.com (6.72).

Netherlands vs. Mexico

It's fair to say that Louis van Gaal's side have surpassed the expectations of their home support, with many Oranje fans entering the tournament with a pessimistic mindset after a difficult group draw. The Europeans, however, have thrilled the crowds with their counter-attacking style -- only Iran averaged less possession in the group stages (39.5%) -- with the decision to deploy Arjen Robben (three goals and one assist) certainly paying dividends so far. The Dutch are the top scorers up to now (10).

- Round of 16: Betting preview

They face a Mexico side that have also stepped up to the plate after a disappointing qualifying campaign to get the better of Croatia in their final group match. The neutrals will be hoping for more of the same -- if only to witness coach Miguel Herrera's touchline antics once again -- but Mexico have been most impressive at the back, conceding just once in the group stages. Veteran captain Rafael Marquez (7.87 rating) has set a fine example to date.

Costa Rica vs. Greece

This isn't a tie that anyone was expecting at this stage of the competition but Costa Rica have certainly warranted their place in the round of 16. From no-hopers to shock winners of Group D, Jorge Luis Pinto's side have been the real surprise package, built on their excellent defensive organisation. No side conceded fewer goals in the group stages (1) and only England and Spain conceded fewer shots (28).

Greece came through their group for the first time in their history at the very last minute. Giorgios Samaras' injury time penalty against Ivory Coast was only their second goal of the tournament, with Fernando Santos' side failing to score in their opening two matches. In a match where both sides will probably play a defensive formation, Greece may need to come out of their shell a little more to progress, with their rating of 6.67 from WhoScored.com the lowest of the teams to emerge from the group stages.

Vincent Enyeama has been in fine form for Nigeria so far, carrying on where he left off for Lille.

France vs. Nigeria

You never know what to expect from France at a major international tournament but it's fair to say Les Bleus have put the disappointment of four years ago to bed with their group stage performances. Only two sides netted more goals (8) and only Netherlands garnered a higher average team rating from WhoScored.com (7.19). All of this without star man Franck Ribery, as Karim Benzema and co impressed in his absence.

Nigeria may have come through their group with just four points but they proved against Argentina they are no pushovers. Despite conceding three in that game their defence have impressed, while Vincent Enyeama has carried on his excellent form in goal with Lille last season into the tournament (7.81 rating). They may struggle at the other end, however, as only Greece have scored fewer goals (3) to this point.

Germany vs. Algeria

Having shown glimpses to reflect why they are among the favourites to win the tournament during the group stages, Germany will be huge favourites against Algeria next Monday. Joachim Low's men rank second when it comes to both possession (62.1%) and pass accuracy (89%) from the group stages, though they were put to the test against high-energy Ghana and USA sides. Miroslav Klose equalled Ronaldo's all-time World Cup scoring record (15) but will have an eye over his shoulder as teammate Thomas Muller took his respective tally to nine, with four in the group.

Algeria made it through Group H with a point against Russia in their closing match and probably just about deserved to progress behind Belgium due to some clinical finishing. The Africans scored six goals in the group stages -- with four coming against South Korea -- and their attacking players have proven their quality with the side averaging just 8.7 shots per game. The Germans need be wary at the back then, with Algeria's 23.1% conversion rate ranking third from the group stages.

Argentina vs. Switzerland

The attacking trident of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi was hugely anticipated pre-tournament but in truth it's only the latter, who faced criticism for a lack of international goals when it really mattered, who has lived up to the billing. The Argentina captain has carried the side through with four goals so far, though the South Americans are one of only four to earn maximum points and averaged the most possession of any team in the group stages (65.6%).

Switzerland have been hugely entertaining to watch this time around, not only for some exciting attacking play but also at times, it should be said, some very poor defending (see 5-2 vs France). Xherdan Shaqiri really came to life in the free role against Honduras, linking with striker Josip Drmic in their last group game to net a hat-trick and with only three sides having had more shots on target (20) in the group stages, a weak Argentina defence may well be tested in an open encounter.

Belgium vs. USA

The final round of 16 match sees Belgium face USA, with the former perhaps not impressing quite as much as the neutrals expected despite picking up maximum points from Group H. All four of Marc Wilmots' side's goals came in the final 20 minutes of matches -- three from substitutes -- and the Red Devils certainly left it late in games. They were more pragmatic than many imagined, with a Sofiane Feghouli penalty the only shot to have beaten Thibaut Courtois between the posts. Despite defeat in their final game against Germany, the US progressed from Group G courtesy of the four points earned against Ghana and Portugal. Jurgen Klinsmann's men had just nine shots on target but scored four goals, while no side conceded more shots in the group stages (55). It's likely to be a tough task for the USA to progress, with only two sides in the last 16 scoring a lower team rating from WhoScored.com thus far (6.75).

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.