After a heart-stopping group stage, the 16 teams that have survived the first round of the tournament now enter the playoffs, where the margin for error disappears and the smallest details acquire weight that can determine the fate of matches.
All the teams that started as favorites at the beginning of the tournament reach this point after having had a scare.
No team has won its three group stage matches, a situation that has not occurred in a World Cup since the United States in 1994. Brazil continues to be, according to the data, the main candidate for the title, although the team that leads the statistics is Spain.
This has been the most even group stage of the 21st century and most teams arrive with dynamics marked by ups and downs.
The Spanish team made the best debut in the World Cup with the defeat of Costa Rica (7-0) and was about to surpass Argentina, who lost to Saudi Arabia, for the second position in the Elo ranking.
This statistic, also used by FIFA, classifies teams based on various data collected during matches and gives them a score that symbolizes their potential.
Spain's Elo rating skyrocketed after that game, but since then it has only gone down and after the defeat against Japan, it has fallen to fourth place behind the Netherlands.
Their rival in the round of 16, Morocco, is the team that has grown the most according to this barometer,
Spain, queen of possession ahead of Argentina and England
The Elo system analyzes an immense amount of data to rate the teams, but focuses the analysis on the most significant statistics (goals and possession), Spain ranks as the team with the greatest offensive production in the World Cup.
Luis Enrique's men have scored the same nine goals as England, but with an average command of 75% of possession, the highest figure for teams classified in the round of 16.
The section in which La Roja falters the most is in conceded goals, with three goals conceded in three games.
Brazil is the team that has conceded the fewest goals, one, the one conceded in the defeat against Cameroon on the last day.
Luis Enrique, a coach in the trenches
Reigning champions France reached the round of 16 without trouble, although they lost their last game against Tunisia with a team full of substitutes.
Deschamps' team is the team that has generated the most expected goals during the group stage and the one with the greatest difference with the final result.
This statistic calculates the probability that an action ends in a goal taking into account variables such as the position of the shot, the type of shot or the position of the goalkeeper.
On the opposite side, but ranked alongside the French, Australia is the team that has scored the most with the fewest expected goals.
The Oceanics averaged 0.5 goals per game, but managed to score in all three.
Instability also affects individually
Kylian Mbappé, Álvaro Morata, Cody Gakpo and Marcus Rashford are the only ones to have scored three goals in the group stage.
Two of them, the Spanish and the English, have also done so coming off the bench in two of the three games.
With very even matches and such long extension times, many substitutes have decided matches with goals at the last minute.
The best example is Japan striker Ritsu Doan, who scored after in the second half against Spain and Germany to get the victories that have earned his team qualification.
Two continents have given surprise in this World Cup.
Asia and Africa have qualified more teams to the round of 16 than in their entire history;
two each: Japan and South Korea and Senegal and Morocco.
In contrast, South America, with only Argentina and Brazil in the round of 16, registers its lowest figure since the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.
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