The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While this FIFA World Cup in Russia has given us the most dramatic group stage matches we've seen in years, as the final computations and permutations for the round of 16 unfold, is it any surprise that those same old names are once again wriggling through?
The answer is no. Most definitely not. A couple of weeks ago when previewing this tournament I took the time to bombard you with stats about how few countries have ever won the World Cup, how those same names inevitably will also fill all the quarterfinal and semifinal spots and why, no matter what happens in the group stages this time, it pays to place a historical perspective on any early predictions you might make on any eventual tournament success.
And here we go again. So far confirmed in the Round of 16 we have previous winners Uruguay, Spain, France, Argentina plus the reigning European Champions Portugal. By the time everything is settled around 8am Friday morning expect Germany, Brazil and England to also join that list – meaning seven of the tournament's favourites will still be in with a chance as the pressure really comes on.
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Which is exactly my original point. Forget first group stage form. By the time the real tournament starts, those that have been there before will once again, before bring their experience to bear.
Despite their initial struggles who wants to play Germany in a knockout game? Or Lionel Messi and Argentina?
I don't want to say I told you so, but when it comes to the World Cup of the Beautiful Game, to quote Led Zeppelin, the song remains the same.