Many words have been dedicated to this already, with millions more sure to follow, but the 2014 World Cup has indeed been a masterpiece, from exquisite exhibitions of individual talent to the cohesive brilliance of eleven men overcoming long odds, Brazil 2014 has been everything we expected and so much more. And so we've come to the knockout rounds, where many of the usual characters have been joined by some surprising upstarts, including two African nations and a healthy dose of South Americans looking for glory on their home continent.
First up on the chopping block are, conveniently enough, four of the five remaining nations from America Sud.
Brazil vs Chile: Noon (EDT), Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
On the surface, this match would seem to favor the Brazilians; after all, they've got the names that put asses in the seats and the ever so precious home field advantage. But don't sell the Chileans short, they survived a tough group that featured reigning champions Spain and an always devastating Netherlands squad, and, as we're all aware, Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla and Alexis Sanchez can turn a match in an instant.
From a Roma perspective, barring any injuries or cards, don't expect to see Maicon, as he has yet to feature for Brazil
The most obvious point of interest here is how will Uruguay play without the suspended Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker, he of 54 Premiership goals over the past two seasons and two more in this tournament, has been suspended from all football and football related activities for four months following his third documented biting incident. Presumably Uruguay will rely on the duo of Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan, the latter of whom will need to recapture some of his past magic if the Uruguayans have any hope of survival.
Colombia, meanwhile, have been one of the best nations in this tournament, topping Group C with an unblemished record and a +7 goal differential. Suarez or no Suarez, Colombia may have been favored to win this match anyway, anything less now has to be considered a monumental upset.
Where to Watch
ABC has both matches for our American viewers, SKY GO has got you covered in Italy, CBC in Canada and the good old BBC will broadcast today's matches in the British Isles. For all other options, head on over to LiveSoccerTV.