Lionel Messi relishes the spotlight at the Maracana -- a place he hopes to return for the July 13 World Cup final -- after one of his four group stage goals.
Victor R. Caivano/AP
By Avi Creditor
June 27, 2014

The World Cup field is down to its final 16 teams after one of the most entertaining, unpredictable group stages in the competition's history. A few pre-tournament favorites remain, with host Brazil, rival Argentina and European power Germany all reaching the knockout stage. Others, like defending champion Spain, 2006 winner Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, were not so fortunate. 

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What we're left with is a blend of underdog stories, knockout stage newcomers, clear favorites and deep-run hopefuls. Here's how we see the final 16 teams ranked by chances of winning it all, taking group performance, knockout opponents and potential road to the final into account:

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