Group play is complete, unfortunately — wish it lasted another fortnight — and it's on to the knockouts: Two games per day for four days, starting Saturday with Brazil-Chile and concluding Tuesday with Belgium-United States.

We'll take the occasion of today's peace and quiet to rank the 16 survivors. Please note: The following is not a projection of the eventual outcome (although you could do worse than picking the team listed No. 1).

  • 16. Nigeria: Played in a weak group and backed into knockout rounds.

    Next: France.

  • 15. Uruguay: No Suarez, no chance.

    Next: Colombia.

  • 14. Greece: Like the grit, but a limited attack limits the possibilities.

    Next: Costa Rica.

  • 13. Switzerland. Alive and well while three European powers (Spain, Italy and England) are home.

    Next: Argentina.

  • 12. Algeria. Can't help but love the passion and the style, but the run ends against the Nationalmannschaft.

    Next: Germany.

  • 11. United States: Outplayed for majority of two games (Ghana and Germany), but survival is all that matters.

    Next: Belgium.

  • 10. Chile: If midfielder Arturo Vidal isn't the best all-around player left in the tournament, he's top five.

    Next: Brazil.

  • 9. Belgium: Hardly an overpowering knockout stage foe for the fightin' Klinsmanns.

    Next: United States.

  • 8. Argentina: Messi has been brilliant, but there are issues elsewhere. Everywhere else.


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    Next: Switzerland.

  • 7. France: Would be near the top of the rankings but for spotty showing against Ecuador.

    Next: Nigeria.

  • 6. Costa Rica: Most surprising group winner left Italy and England in the dust.

    Next: Greece.

  • 5. Mexico: As much momentum as any of the survivors, and nobody has a better keeper.

    Next: The Netherlands.

  • 4. Brazil: Neymar needs help in order for the hosts to avoid shaming a nation.

    Next: Chile

  • 3. Colombia: Markedly better than South American powers Brazil and Argentina, at least so far.

    Next: Uruguay.

  • 2. The Netherlands: Given slight edge over Colombia due to strength of its group.

    Next: Mexico.

  • 1. Germany: Won the Group of Death, dominating two of its three matches.

    Next: Algeria.