The stage is set and the actors are waiting in the wings. The last 16 matches of the 2014 World Cup are upon us.
Hosts Brazil take on Chile at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
Brazil will have the expectations of an entire nation on their shoulders when they take on one of this edition’s surprise packages.
Brazil qualified top spot in Group A but have so far failed to convince.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has a full strength squad at his disposal and is likely to keep faith with a 4-2-3-1 formation against their South Americans rivals.
A minor change might see Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho starting on the bench following some lacklustre displays with Manchester City’s Fernandinho a possible replacement.
Possible party poopers
Chile will look to become World Cup party poopers and knock out the hosts.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side enjoyed impressive wins over Australia and defending champions Spain before losing to the Dutch in their final group fixture.
Arturo Vidal missed that last match and training on Thursday afternoon but along with Gary Medel, should be expected to be fit in time for Saturday’s game.
Chile are looking to progress to the quarter finals for the first time since their home World Cup in 1962.
Another All-South American affair
The legendary Maracana stadium plays host to another all-South American affair.
Colombia, unbeaten in the group stage, take on Uruguay, who qualified at the death of their final group fixture, at the expense of Italy.
The tie will be a test of which team can cope better without their star striker.
Colombia don’t appear to have missed their main man Radamel Falcao too much at the World.
They have impressed on the Brazilian pitches so far and won Group C cruising to victory in all three matches, scoring nine goals.
Coach Jose Pekerman has no injury or suspension concerns.
Mario Yepes has recovered from a hamstring problem earlier this week and after missing the Japan game is expected to return to the starting line-up.
Time to refocus
Uruguay will also be missing their star striker Luiz Suarez who has been banned following another biting episode in his controversial career.
Oscar Tabarez’s side must refocus following the blow of losing Suarez.
Edinson Cavani will now get the chance to step up and shine and spearhead the attack with Diego Forlan the likely replacement for Suarez.
Uruguay lead the head-to-head record with Colombia having won four of their last six encounters between them.
Colombia’s last win over Uruguay came in 2012 – Luiz Suarez was absent from that fixture too.
The Uruguayan star is already back home in Montevideo, after FIFA banned him for biting Giorgio Chiellini.
Italian defender Chiellini meanwhile appears to bear no grudges and has called the sanction ‘excessive’.
Leaving Brazil with your team in the last 16 was the last thing Suarez would have wanted but he had no choice in the matter.
His four-month ban from all football-related activities includes him not being allowed to attend his nation’s remaining matches at the World Cup.
Although criticised worldwide for his actions, hundreds of fans of the player flocked to Carrasco International Airport near Montevideo to show their support and welcome the banned striker home.
During his football exile Suarez could even be sold by Liverpool as Barcelona remain keen to sign the 27-year-old despite him being unable to play until the end of October.
On top of the four month and nine international match ban Suarez was also fined just over 82 000 euros.
Punishment that has surely left a bitter taste in his mouth.
We might be wrong
How are tonight’s games going to end? Here is the Euronews sports team’s predictions. Don’t forget you can send us your predictions via the social networks, using #TheCornerScores throughout the rest of the tournament.
Although they haven’t lived up to their full potential yet we feel hosts Brazil should enjoy a 3-1 victory over their south American rivals while we predict Colombia will take full advantage of Suarez’s absence and celebrate a 2-1 over Uruguay.
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