Brazil, Belgium book quarter-final berths
So much for this being a 'World' Cup.
The quarter-finals are all-European and South American for the first time since 2006.
Mexico said adÌos with a 2-0 loss to Brazil in the round of 16 yesterday and Japan sayonara when it blew a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat to Belgium, ending the hopes of North America and Asia.
Africa and Central America didn't make it past the group phase. Oceania and the Caribbean couldn't even earn an invite.
For 47 consecutive months, experts proclaim emerging soccer nations are catching up with the traditional powers.
Then the World Cup pitches its big tent and the European and South American nations knock all others to the kerb with the ruthlessness of an Eric Cantona kung fu kick. Turns out not much has changed from the days when players wore shorts that extended below kneecaps and booted dark T-model leather balls with thick laces.