All 32 teams started the 2022 FIFA World Cup with one goal: get to the knockout rounds. Any player and coach will tell you that in the single-elimination knockout stage anything can happen. That's why teams don't care how they get there. They just want to get there. Below is quick run-throw of each country remaining, how they got here and who the square up against in the round of 16.
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group B
Results: 6-2 win vs. Iran, 0-0 draw vs. U.S., 3-0 win vs. Wales
Next opponent: Senegal (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group G
Results: 2-0 win vs. Serbia, 1-0 win vs. Switzerland, 1-0 loss vs. Cameroon
Next opponent: South Korea (Monday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group D
Results: 4-1 win vs. Australia, 2-1 win vs. Denmark, 1-0 loss to Tunisia
Next opponent: Poland (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group F
Results: 0-0 vs. Croatia, 2-0 win vs. Belgium, 2-1 win vs. Canada
Next opponent: Spain (Tuesday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group C
Results: 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, 2-0 win vs. Mexico, 2-0 win vs. Poland
Next opponent: Australia (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group E
Results: 2-1 win vs. Germany, 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, 2-1 win vs. Spain
Next opponent: Croatia (Monday, 10:00 a.m. ET)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group A
Results: 2-0 win vs. Senegal, 1-1 vs. Ecuador, 2-0 win vs. Qatar
Next opponent: United States (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group E
Results: 7-0 win vs. Costa Rica, 1-1 draw vs. Germany, 2-1 loss vs. Japan
Next opponent: Morocco (Tuesday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: First place in Group H
Results: 3-2 win vs. Ghana, 2-0 win vs. Uruguay, 2-1 loss to South Korea
Next opponent: Switzerland (Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group G
Results: 1-0 win vs. Cameroon, 1-0 loss vs. Brazil, 3-2 win vs. Serbia
Next opponent: Portugal (Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group F
Results: 0-0 vs. Morocco, 4-1 win vs. Canada, 0-0 vs. Belgium
Next opponent: Japan (Monday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT
12. UNITED STATES
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group B
Results: 1-1 vs. Wales, 0-0 vs. England, 1-0 vs. Iran
Next opponent: Netherlands (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group A
Results: 2-0 loss to Netherlands, 3-1 win vs. Qatar, 2-1 win vs. Ecuador
Next opponent: England (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
14. SOUTH KOREA
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group H
Results: 0-0 draw vs. Uruguay, 3-2 loss vs. Ghana, 2-1 win vs. Portugal
Next opponent: Brazil (Monday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group D
Results: 4-1 loss to France, 1-0 win vs. Tunisia, 1-0 win vs. Denmark
Next opponent: Argentina (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT)
Path to the round of 16: Second place in Group C
Results: 0-0 vs. Mexico, 2-0 win vs Saudi Arabia, 2-0 loss to Argentina
Next opponent: France (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT)
ROUND OF 16 PREDICTIONS
Netherlands vs. United States
The Americans got their dramatic win in the final match of the group stage vs. Iran. They'll look to make more history in this match against a much more formidable opponent. 23-year-old Cody Gakpo is the Dutch man of the moment, having scored in all three group-stage matches, but America’s midfield and defense have been locked tight.
Argentina vs. Australia
The Socceroos qualified for the World Cup defeating Peru in the intercontinental playoff and have punched above their weight getting out of the group. Argentina have also surprised at this World Cup, first by losing to Saudi Arabia and then by stuttering for one half against Mexico before turning it on to collect two wins. I can see them dispatching Australia with ease. Sorry, Aussies!
England vs. Senegal
The Three Lions didn't have much trouble with Group B, even in their most rocky performance of the tournament against the USMNT. Undefeated and only two goals allowed (in the blowout 6-2 win over Iran), Gareth Southgate's side is full of confidence. England will have possession, but they’ll need to watch Senegal on the counter. It’ll be a fun matchup, but I suspect we’ll see Southgate’s squad at least in the quarterfinals.
France vs. Poland
This has been a tournament of underdog upsets and high-ranked disappointments (farewell, Germany and Belgium). But none of that applies to the French. The French have looked as good as expected—or better, given the players absent and injured. Lewandowski finally got his World Cup goal and Poland were pleased to make the knockouts, but they’ll be out of their depth with the French.
Japan vs. Croatia
I will continue to ride the hot hand of Japan. Shocking the world by not only topping the group but beating Germany and Spain in the process, the Samurai Blue are the manga Blue Lock come to life. Croatia’s squad of aging stars looked more than capable through the group stage, but my money’s on Japan’s relentless press and counter to prove victorious in this matchup.
Brazil vs. South Korea
What a way for South Korea to advance! A very dramatic last day in Group H has Heung-min Son and his side through on goal difference over Uruguay, who finished third. Their reward? A round-of-16 date with World Cup favorites Brazil. Neymar's ankle remains a question, but the South Americans do not lack in attacking options beyond him and shouldn't have much trouble moving into the quarterfinals, despite the feel-good story that South Korea brings into the matchup.
Morocco vs. Spain
These two teams should produce an exciting, back-and-forth game. I can’t see Morocco trying to play it safe. Everything about them so far has suggested they will try to take the game to Spain, and I think that leaves them vulnerable. Despite the 2-1 loss to Japan, Spain have a good squad with a nice mix of youth and experience. The game against Morocco will be tough, but I see manager Luis Enrique making tactical tweaks that will see them through.
Portugal vs. Switzerland
Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t exactly impressed this World Cup, but so far, he hasn’t had to. Portugal’s depth of talent has filled in with enough to get them into the knockouts. Their meeting with Switzerland will be a close one. Xherdan Shaqiri may have graduated to Major League Soccer, but he’s been electric for the Swiss this World Cup. I’ve got this one going to penalties and Switzerland sneaking by to the quarters.