Round of 16 Previews

#1 Liberia vs. #16 Turkey

It’s no surprise that the back-to-back champions are the number one seed again. Liberia hasn’t allowed a goal all tournament. Could this be the game that they finally do? Turkey has shown great composure over the first month of the tournament and could give the defending champs an early test in the knockout round.

#2 Ivory Coast vs. #15 Haiti

Haiti is coming off of a huge upset win against Nigeria over the weekend. The question becomes whether or not they have enough left in the tank to over-throw a perennial favorite. For Ivory Coast, it is status quo-… other than a stray goal in the group stage, they could be the number one seed.

#3 Brazil vs. #14 Mexico

This could be a very good game. If Mexico is to win this game, they will have to figure out how to get the ball past the Brazilian goalkeeper, who has only allowed one goal throughout this tournament. Brazil is looking to avenge their early exit from the round of 16 last year. Brazil has scored the second most goals this tournament with 25, so if Mexico is to win, they need to play a defensive-minded game.

#4 Honduras vs. #13 Colombia

Colombia is coming off of a hard-fought win in penalty kicks against Jamaica. They will be looking to further advance in this tournament if they are to beat Honduras. Honduras went undefeated in group stage play and have proven to us they can hang with any team in this tournament. This game could be a hard-fought battle if both teams play up to the potential they’ve displayed thus far.

#5 Sierra Leone vs. #12 El Salvador

Sierra Leone is trying to get back to the final for the first time since 2017, but have a tough opponent in El Salvador in their way. El Salvador was able to handle England with ease in the knockout round but have a tough task in front of them. Sierra Leone is a very quick-oriented team and can blow by the defense in the blink of an eye. This will be a very fast-paced game that could end either way.

#6 Burkina Faso vs. #11 Iran

In this matchup, we have two brand new teams facing each other. Iran is coming off of a 4-1 win over Palestine in the knockout round. Burkina Faso has surprised us with how good they have been after going undefeated in the group stage. Both teams have very fast players that could get by a defense just like that. It’s tough to decide who will come out on top of this matchup, but it very well could be Burkina Faso as the Cinderella story of the tournament.

#7 Guinea vs. #10 USA

USA is coming off a 6-0 win against Poland. USA is looking to avenge their semifinal loss last year and reach the finals for the first time in tournament history. Guinea is a very young and fast team that could break down the US defense in the blink of an eye. This could make for a very great game and could wind up going to penalty kicks to decide the winner.

#8 Ukraine vs. #9 Ireland

This could prove to be the match of the weekend— both teams have final four rosters and experience from the first three years in the tournament. Offensively, the edge has to go to Ireland— Richter, Matthews, and O’Donnell will definitely put the pressure on the Ukrainian defense. On the flip side, the defensive advantage goes to Ukraine, with probably the biggest backline in the tournament and perhaps the number one goal-keeper. Expect this one to be tight throughout with the victory coming on a mistake, penalty kick, or even in a shoot-out!

Want to see how it all plays out? View this weekend’s schedule for match details.