(Image source from: This FIFA World Cup 2014 belongs to the underdogs})
When the 2014 FIFA World Cup were being drawn up, few expected that Brazil 2014 to throw up such shocking surprises, that many leading teams would exit the game in the first round itself.
Until now, European sides have always dominated the knockout stages. So it's natural for one to expect the best footballing continent on the planet to do well. But sadly, this is not the case this time around.
Only six European teams have managed to survive the group stages of Brazil 2014 - the fewest since the tournament was expanded to 32 teams during FIFA France ’98.
The last time so few European representatives took part in the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup was during the 1970 World Cup, when only 16 teams were included in the tournament.
With most favorites out of the game, the outcomes of matches in the knockout stages will be as difficult to predict, much like the group stages of Brazil 2014.
That said, one cannot overlook the way certain teams are making history by advancing to the latter stages of the World Cup as well as providing entertaining viewing experience.
But while one North American team’s accomplishments have been warmly applauded, another has been cheered the world over. Who would’ve thought a tiny nation like Costa Rica to make it through the Group of Death and represent North America in the last eight of the competition?
Teams like Costa Rica are good examples of how less popular teams are challenging the most established teams at Brazil 2014. Underdogs taking the game to teams that are considered favorites has been the trend in the tournament so far.
The unfancied teams show of bravery and determination in unsettling their much-vaunted opponents has taken the football fans by a storm this summer.
Although a majority of big teams have lost the Round of 16, they achievements and the manner in which they played football will have given them plenty of confidence and belief to do better at Russia 2018. Brazil 2014 may have forever changed the manner in which FIFA World Cups pan out in the future because of the increased amount of quality brought to them by teams outside Europe.
AW: Suchorita Choudhury