With the United States loss to Belgium still fresh in our hearts and minds, my father turned to me and said, “who do I root for now?” An open-ended question that I indeed was not prepared to answer at the moment. The United States was eliminated, Mexico was robbed, the defending champions Spain were out, even our Portuguese and Italian heritage could not be celebrated this far into the tournament. With ¾ of the teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup eliminated, we had no allegiance to any of the final eight. Upon reflection, I realized that many of my fellow grieving Americans and Mexican-Americans also were without a vested interest.

As the old saying goes, “the show must go on”, and starting Friday, on 4th of July when we hoped we'd be celebrating an American victory over Belgium with beear and hotdogs, we insted find ourselves asking: “who do we root for now?”

Alas, have no fear as we present to you the remaining eight teams in the World Cup and a guide for you to discover who to root for:


Costa Rica: If you are a fan of Team USA and Mexico, you may want to align with Costa Rica as the quarterfinals start on Friday. Costa Rica plays in the same region as the United States and Mexico in the CONCACAF division. They finished second behind the U.S., but have proven their worth so far in the tournament. Los Ticos won the group of Champions defeating, Uruguay, Italy and England along the way. They have an electric young star in Joel Campbell who has the celebration of the tournament so far. Their defense has been stellar and to cap it off, they have a "Duarte" on the team. If you like underdogs, this is the team to cheer for as they face an overwhelming favorite in Netherlands on Saturday.

Joel Campbell Costa Rica's Joel Campbell has made a name for himself in this year's tournament. Reuters

Belgium: Too soon? I can understand if the pain is still too fresh to root for Belgium, but if you’re like me, you sometimes want to root for the team that beat your team because if they win it all, you can always say, “well we lost to the Champions, no shame in that.” In addition to debating with your friends on how the United States could have made the World Cup Final had they not met Belgium in the second round, they are a sentimental favorite as well. Belgium has never won the World Cup, and didn’t even make the tournament four years ago. As you saw against the United States they are extremely talented and have a great offensive attack, not to mention one of the top goalies in the world in Thibaut Courtois. If you like dark horses like I do, Belgium is your team as they battle Argentina on Saturday.

Thibaut Courtois Belgium's Thibaut Courtois, is one of the best young goalkeepers in the world and is an unsung star of dark horse Belgium Reuters

Argentina and Colombia: If you like teams with superstars or South America, then you should jump on the bandwagon of either of these two teams the rest of the way. Argentina has Lionel Messi, the world’s best player (sorry Ronaldo). Similar to Lebron James, Messi has proven to be a one man wrecking crew for Argentina as he has scored or assisted in each of the team’s four victories. If Lionel Messi is comparable to Lebron, than James Rodriguez is most certainly Kevin Durant. The 22 year old Rodriguez has been the breakout star of the tournament, and is currently leading all scorers for the coveted Golden Boot Trophy. He is the youngest ever to score five goals in his first four matches and has already made history for his country as Colombia has reached their first ever quarterfinal. If you like heartwarming stories, both Argentina and Colombia have had their fill of heart breaks at the World Cup and would love to turn despair into triumph. Argentina plays Belgium on Saturday, while Colombia gets Brazil on Friday in what might be the most exciting match of the World Cup so far.

James Rodriguez Colombia's James Rodriguez is a breakout star and one of the best players in the entire tournament. Reuters

France and Germany: If you like front runners, Germany or France may be the team for you. Germany entered the tournament as one of the odds on favorites and are playing in a World Cup record 16th straight quarterfinals appearance. Both teams however are former Champions and considered to be traditional European powerhouses. France looks strong on offense as they are led by striker Karim Benzema who has scored nine goals in his last nine games for Les Bleus. Germany is led by last year’s Golden Boot Trophy winner, Thomas Mueller and striker Miroslav Klose who is one goal away from setting the all time record for World Cup goals. You better pick one team or the other however as these teams battle on Friday in Rio de Janeiro.

Karim Benzema France's Karim Benzema has scored nine goals in nine games for France Reuters

Netherlands: If you like redemption stories, the Dutch are the team for you. After the San Antonio Spurs gut wrenching loss to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, the Spurs set out on a yearlong mission of revenge. They got their vengeance in a 2014 rematch with the Heat in which they won the NBA Finals in five games. Similarly, the Netherlands found themselves in the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa where they were heavy underdogs to European power, Spain. The Oranje lost that heartbreaking game 1-0 in extra time and haven’t forgotten that feeling since. Four years later they avenged that loss with a 5-1 thrashing of the defending champs in their opening game of group play. However, beating Spain was not the only thing on their agenda in this year’s World Cup. They are on a self proclaimed mission to hoist the trophy this year and lose the sour taste in their mouths that has resided for four years. The Dutch clash with Costa Rica on Saturday.

Netherlands The Netherlands are on a mission to avenge their 2010 World Cup Finals loss to Spain. Reuters

Brazil – Sometimes when you like the party that you’re at, you go up and thank the hosts. This year’s FIFA World Cup has been action packed, with more goals than we’ve ever seen before. The upsets, heartbreak, and drama have been there since day one and it has left every soccer fan in the world riveted. If you find yourself without a team, but like what you have seen so far, then maybe it’s time to cheer on the hosts. Selecao are the favorites to win the World Cup this year and even after their scare against Chile last week post an impressive 40 year winning streak on their home soil. Led by one of the most exhilarating scorers in the world, Neymar, when Brazil plays at its best, no one can beat them. The pressure and passion from their fans is evident as Brazil seeks to avenge a World Cup Finals loss the last time they hosted back in 1950. Look for fun and excitement when this team collides with Colombia on Friday.

Neymar Brazil's Neymar is a fan favorite and one of the most exciting players on the pitch. Reuters