Now that the group stage of the World Cup has ended, six FC Barcelona players are preparing to take on their next challenge in the tournament, the knockout round. 16 teams have made it past the first cut, and all of them want to stay in the competition and reach the quarterfinals.
The first match of the Round of 16 will pit four FC Barcelona players against each other. This Saturday at 6:00 PM CET, Neymar and Dani Alves’ Brazil will take on Alexis Sánchez and Claudio Bravo’s Chile. Of the four Barça players, two will make it on to the quarterfinals. The Brazilians, the hosts and one of the favourites to win the title, will test the Chilean side that eliminated Spain from the competition.
Neymar is one of the three joint top scorers of the tournament along with Messi and Müller, while Dani Alves has played the entirety of all three of Brazil’s group matches. While, for Chile, Alexis has proven to be the team’s leader on attack while Bravo is clearly the team’s bastion on defence.
The other Barça players seeking to seal a spot in the quarterfinals are Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano. Barça’s No.10 is the only player to receive the Man of the Match award for all three of group stage matches, while Mascherano is proving to be crucial in Argentina’s midfield.
The Argentinians will look to defeat Switzerland, who finished second in their group behind France. Shaqiri closed out the group stage with a hat trick and he’ll be the danger man on Tuesday, July 1 at 6:00 PM CET.
Here's a look at all of the Round of 16 matches:
· Brazil–Chile (Saturday 28, 18.00 h)
· Colombia–Uruguay (Saturday 28, 22.00 h)
· Netherlands–Mexico (Sunday 29, 18.00 h)
· Costa Rica–Greece (Sunday 29, 22.00 h)
· France–Nigeria (Monday 30, 18.00 h)
· Germany–Algeria (Monday 30, 22.00 h)
· Argentina–Switzerland (Tuesday, July 1, 18.00 h)
· Belgium–United States (Tuesday, July 1, 22.00 h)