Thirty-two matches full of unpredictable twists and turns leave us with 24 teams still in contention to lift the World Cup on July 15 in Russia.
Six teams have punched their tickets to the knockout round, with four coming from two groups.
Some of the favored teams to win the tournament have left their mark through two games, while others are forced to pick up the pieces in order to survive during the final matchday, which lasts Monday through Thursday.
Below is a look at some of the biggest stories created on the field during the second set of 16 matches.
Argentina Need To Make Changes In Order To Avoid Humiliation
There’s always one big favorite who implodes during the group stage, but no one thought it would be Argentina.
Although the Albiceleste struggled throughout CONMEBOL qualifying, they still bounced back and earned a spot in the 32-team field in Russia.
Argentina’s group isn’t particularly strong, but it has made the challenge of advancing to the knockout stage difficult.
Jorge Sampaoli’s stubborn tactics have left Lionel Messi and his teammates frustrated, which resulted in all sorts of drama ahead of their final group clash with Nigeria.
Argentina hasn’t been great by any stretch of the imagination, but if the right adjustments are made to surround Messi with Paolo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain from the start, it could salvage a poor group stage with a big win over Nigeria and second place in Group C.
However, if Sampaoli continues to pick the wrong starting XI, which would cause even more friction in the locker room, Argentina will cement its status as the World Cup’s most disappointing team.
Germany In Decent Shape, Still Needs To Improve
Germany was in the running for most disappointing team in Russia until Toni Kroos breathed life back into its repeat chances with a stoppage-time free kick goal against Sweden.
Not only did Die Mannschaft need the strike, Kroos personally needed an individual moment of brilliance to kickstart his poor start to the World Cup.
Germany isn’t in the clear yet, but it is in much better shape than Argentina, and in order to remain in the competition, Joachim Loew must make more changes to his squad.
Ideally, Loew would be able to phone Leroy Sane and magically add him to the roster for more creativity, but instead he has to choose from a collection of uninspiring veteran forwards, led by Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez.
Marco Reus might be the best option in the final third, while Timo Werner needs to generate more chances to be Germany’s lead man.
Re-introducing Mesut Ozil to the starting XI might not be a terrible idea either, as the Germans look to strum up as much creativity as possible over 90 minutes against a weak South Korea squad.
Hirving Lozano Is The Tournament’s Breakout Star
Mexico’s Hirving “Chucky” Lozano has followed in the footsteps of James Rodriguez as the breakout star of the World Cup.
Lozano, who plays for PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie, caught everyone’s attention with a goal in the upset victory over Germany, and he continued to shine his work on both ends of the field in Saturday’s win over South Korea.
The 22-year-old tracked back a few times in the first half to make a pair of key defensive interventions, and he threatened on a few occasions against the worst side in Group F.
A few more goals would do wonders for Lozano’s summer transfer window prospects, and he should have at least two more chances to do so if Mexico takes care of business against Sweden on Matchday 3.
England, Belgium Continue To Shine
England and Belgium have impressed against weaker opposition when some of the other big names in Russia haven’t delivered.
Belgium thumped Tunisia, 5-2, on Saturday, while England thrashed Panama, 6-1, on Sunday to set up a clash of the titans in Group G on Thursday for first place in the group.
Both European nations fueled by young stars of the game scored eight goals through two games and conceded on a pair of occasions.
If they decide to play a drab affair in order to set up a more favorable knockout matchup, we could go all the way to the drawing of lots to determine first place.
On the other hand, we could witness one of the most pleasing games of the group stage, as Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane challenge the opposing defenses with their skillful play up top.
Regardless of what the final result is, England and Belgium need a test to prepare for the knockout stage, where no one similar to Panama or Tunisia await.
Colombia Finally Looks Threatening
Colombia shook off a brutal start to the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Poland to set up a chance to win Group H on Thursday.
The attacking foursome of James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, Juan Quintero and Juan Cuadrado shined against Poland and produced a pair of impressive tallies.
Rodriguez, Quintero and Cuadrado put together wonderful interchange beneath Falcao, who was brilliant in the second half on Sunday and scored his first-career World Cup goal.
Sitting one point behind Japan and Senegal entering the final matchday clash against Senegal, Colombia could cause some major damage for the rest of the tournament.
If they live up to their potential, Los Cafeteros could easily run into the quarterfinals and further.