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World Cup 2014: Day 17 - open thread

Let the knockout stages begin!

Stu Forster

After a day of much-needed World Cup rest, the knockout stages kick off on Saturday. Tournament hosts Brazil will have to get past a rather terrifying Chile if they're to advance into the quarterfinals, while an even more terrifying Colombia should comfortably beat a pretty tame Luis Suarez-less Uruguay.

Today's games

Brazil vs. Chile, Belo Horizonte, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

Brazil have been extremely average so far, having relied wholly on Neymar's magical powers to progress into the knockout stages as group winners. Save for their star striker, Luiz Felipe Scolari's side have been disjointed and leaden-footed. It has been a far cry from the Samba football of past great Seleção sides. They'll need to be much better against a Chile side who have pressed and pressed their way to a couple of great performances so far, and who look in this competition to win it.

Colombia vs. Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro, 16:00 ET/21:00 UK

If Brazil have done their best to suck the fun from their games so far, Colombia have more than made up for it. Heading in it looked nigh-on impossible for José Pékerman's side to live up to such high expectations, though their star players -- and James Rodríguez in particular -- have lived up to the billing, and at present are looking the most formidable team. They'll come up against an unspectacular Uruguay side that sneaked into the knockouts by the skin of Luis Suárez's teeth, and it's hard to see them progressing without their star striker.

Today's United connections

Ex-United forward Diego Forlán could well come into Óscar Tabárez's Uruguay team in the absence of Suárez. Otherwise, there are no United connections, but if Louis van Gaal takes a shine to Chile star Alexis Sánchez, I wouldn't be complaining.

Other stuff

Your correspondent has written big previews for both of today's games: Brazil vs. Chile and Colombia vs. Uruguay. There's also a lot more over at SB Nation Soccer. Make sure to check out the coverage over there throughout the day.

How to watch

Brazil vs. Chile can be found on BBC One in the U.K., while ITV have the Colombia vs. Uruguay match. Across the Atlantic, ESPN, ABC and Univison have the games in the USA, while CBC have them in Canada. All have streaming options available. For other countries, check LiveSoccerTV.