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Knockout time

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, June 28, 2014

THE top 16 knockout competition is finalised and the excitement has already started kicking in just by the look at the fixtures.

Brazil will take on Chile in the opening knockout match followed by Colombia-Uruguay, France-Nigeria, Germany-Algeria, Netherlands-Mexico, Croatia-Greece, Argentina-Switzerland and Belgium-USA matches.

Brace yourself for some insane upsets. At this stage, there are no minnows. These are the best of the 32 that qualified from more than 200 member countries to play in the FIFA World Cup.

From hereon, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil gets better.

Out of the 16 teams that have overcome the intense battle in the group stage, Algeria probably is the biggest surprise. This will be their first time in the knockout stage.

Coming from a group with the likes of powerhouses Belgium, Russia and South Korea, football pundits predicted Algeria would be the first team out of the tournament. They came with an odd of 300-1 to win the World Cup and now a step closer to creating history.

They clung tight to the little hope they had and prevailed with a win, a draw and a loss to qualify with Belgium from Group H.

Now they face one of the favourites Germany in the knockout stage.

Algeria is valued at $F155m. Winger Sofiane Feghouli, who plays for Valencia, is the team's most valuable player worth $32.5m followed by Inter Milan's Saphir Taider on $27m.

Germany is worth $1.125 billion and Mario Gotze is their most expensive player valued at $110.5m.

The Algerians main strength is their solid defence and organisation while Germany probably is one of the best attacking teams in the world. This should make a titanic battle!

Off the field, Luis Suarez has been slapped with a four months ban by FIFA for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The Uruguay and Liverpool forward becomes the latest member of the World Cup Hall of Shame.

Here are three other notable players whose wild antics earned them a place in the World Cup Hall of Shame from CBC Sports:

Zinedine Zidane (2006)

Perhaps the most memorable ejection in World Cup history occurred in the 2006 final, a match that pitted France against Italy. In a shocking moment, Zidane headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest during the second half of extra time, and was given a red card for his actions, resulting in a three-match suspension. Italy went on to win the title on penalty kicks while Zidane, who claimed Materazzi provoked him, retired from football following the tournament.

Italy's Mauro Tassotti (1994)

Tassotti's only World Cup tournament ended during the quarter-final match against Spain. The Italian defender broke Spaniard Luis Enrique's nose with an elbow. The play was similar to the Suarez-Chiellini incident in that no foul was called. However, FIFA suspended Tassotti for eight matches after officials reviewed the incident. Italy would go on to a 2-1 win over Spain and advance all the way to the World Cup final against Brazil without Tassotti.

Frank Rijkaard (1990)

In the second-round match against West Germany, the Dutch midfielder was slapped with a red card for spitting in the hair of Rudi Voeller. It was the second time that Rijkaard had spat at Voeller during the game. While both men were tossed from the match after the second incident, Rijkaard's tournament was over because the Netherlands would eventually lose to West Germany.





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