FIFA World Cup: 10 Facts You Need to Know About 16 Remaining Teams at the World Cup
Here's 10 facts and things you need to know about this year's World Cup round of 16:
1. Back to Back for America
Team USA has never been a soccer powerhouse like Brazil, Italy or Argentina, but this squad did make history. For the very first time in the World Cup, the United States men's soccer team advanced to the round of 16 two consecutive times. That's a very big accomplishment considering Team USA didn't even qualify for the tournament entirely from 1954 to 1986.
2. Bad News for Europe, Africa and North America
Location, location, location.
No continent has been able to dominate the World Cup like the South American teams have when played at their territory. Spain has been able to win in South Africa in 2010, and Brazil won the 1958 Cup in Sweden. But never has a non-South American team won the competition in South America. This is the fifth World Cup hosted in the South America.
3. Not the Usual Powerhouse Field
Italy, Spain and England have won a combined six World Cups. Guess what? For the first time since the 1978 World Cup in Italy, neither England or Spain will be playing in the round of 16. This World Cup has a lot of parity compared to other years, with Italy missing the playoff round in back-to-back years, and Spain not qualifying for the playoffs as defending champions; both are both huge disappointments.
4. Home Field Advantage
As we all know, this year's World Cup host is Brazil. Brazil is trying to defend its soil as the host champion, which hasn't been done since 1998 when France was victorious at home. All together, six nations have won the World Cup playing on their home soil: Uruguay in 1930, Italy in 1934, England in 1966, Germany in 1974, Argentina in 1978 and France in 1998.
5. Size Isn't Everything
Don't let the size of the country fool you. The most success doesn't come from the biggest countries, and the smaller countries are still here competing. The most populated and largest country remaining is the United States. The least populated country to make the round of 16 is Uruguay with a population of just over 3 million people. To put that into perspective, 29 U.S. states have a higher population. The two smallest countries left are the Netherlands and Switzerland, which both rank 134th and 135th, respectively, in the world in total area -- 41 US states are bigger.
6. 4th Time's a charm?
No team has lost more World Cup Finals without a victory than the Netherlands. They're kind of like the Buffalo Bills of the soccer world. The Netherlands are 0-3 in World Cup Finals, which include losses to Germany, Argentina and most recently Spain in 2010. The Netherlands won Group B with a 3-0 record, so the pressure is on again to deliver the goods.
7. History in the making
The career scoring record for most goals in World Cup history is held by Ronaldo of Brazil, who has 15 goals. Miroslav Klose is currently tied with Ronaldo, and with one more goal, the record is officially his.
8. New faces
To make the round of 16 is a big accomplishment for a country because it means you're one of the 16 best soccer countries in the world. This year has two new countries. Algeria and Greece will be playing in the round of 16 for the very first time.
9. Not a Good Year for Asia
This year, three Asian teams qualified for the World Cup, four if you want to count Russia. All of those teams failed to make the round of 16. Those countries include South Korea, Japan and Iran. As a matter of fact, no Asian team was able to get a single victory in this year's World Cup.
10. They've been here before
While there are some new faces to this year's World Cup, there are also many familiar ones with long streaks. The two longest current knockout round streaks belong to Mexico and Brazil. Brazil has made the knockout round ever World Cup since 1986, while Mexico has been here every time since 1994. Could these two be on a collision course with one another?
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