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World Cup Round of 16 begins: who will win?

The 16 teams no longer have any margin of error and one loss is all it takes to get sent home. Japan, South Korea and Morocco are the big surprises.

Mundial Octavos

(Cordon Press)

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The round of 16 of the Qatar 2022 World Cup kicks off this Saturday. Only half of the 32 teams that started the most important soccer tournament on the planet are left and losing would mean elimination. During the group stage, there was room for error. If a team lost its first match, it still had a chance to qualify. But not anymore.

The 16 teams still alive are fighting to be crowned World Cup champions. Winning the tournament would mean being the best team in the world for at least four years - in the event of winning the next World Cup. No team has managed to achieve a full house of victories in the group stage.

Reigning champions France, which won the 2018 World Cup in Russia, were the first to move on to the round of 16. Brazil and Portugal also got their golden ticket on the second day of the group stage.

The United States advanced to the next round after defeating Iran on Tuesday and a group stage in which they did not lose a single match. The Netherlands, Senegal, England, Argentina, Poland, Australia, Morocco, Croatia, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and South Korea complete the list of teams that are moving on to the next round.

Hosts Qatar and Canada were eliminated before the third day of the group stage was underway. The following countries fell short of the Round of 16. Ecuador, Iran, Wales, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Serbia, Uruguay and Ghana.


Several teams beat the odds and made it through to the round of 16. South Korea and Morocco managed to qualify for the next round after finishing ahead of Uruguay and Belgium, two of the best teams in the world, respectively. In fact, the Moroccan team came in first place.

However, without a doubt, the biggest surprise of this World Cup so far has been Japan. The Japanese team managed to beat Spain and Germany in the group stage and finished first in Group E, leaving the German team out of the World Cup.

...and tails

Germany and Belgium are the biggest disappointments of this World Cup in Qatar. The German national team was eliminated from a group where they had been a clear favorite along with Spain. After this failure, the German team could experience a necessary generational change, with the departure of veteran players such as Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller.

Everyone could see that the current Belgian generation was going to bring a lot of joy to their fans by winning a major title. But the years go by and Belgium fails to shine. The team with players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard or Romelu Lukaku, so far, has not won any trophies to show off.