Traditional powers continue WC domination

Neymar scored the opening goal in Brazil's round of 16 win over Mexico in Samara

So much for this being a "World" Cup.

The quarter-finals will be an all-European and South American battle for the first time since 2006.

Mexico said adios with a 2-0 loss to Brazil in the round of 16 and Japan sayonara when they blew a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat to Belgium, ending the hopes of Central America and Asia.

Africa didn't make it past the group phase. Oceania and the Caribbean couldn't even earn an invite.

For 47 consecutive months, experts proclaim emerging soccer nations are catching up with the traditional powers.

Then the World Cup pitches its big tent and the European and South American nations knock all others to the curb.

Turns out not much has changed from the days when players wore shorts that extended below kneecaps and booted dark T-model leather balls with thick laces.

"What we're seeing here for the most part, when it comes to that European and South American talent, it's in abundance, and it's traditionally very successful," former United States defender Alexi Lalas, at the World Cup as a Fox analyst, said.

Since the current format of group stage followed by knockout rounds started in 1986, 46 of 72 quarter-finalists have been from Europe and 18 from South America, with Wednesday's England-Colombia match to decide another spot.

CONCACAF has made it three times: Mexico at home in '86, the US in 2002 and Costa Rica in Brazil four years ago.

Africa also has three quarter-finalists: Cameroon at Italy in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana at South Africa in 2010.

There has been just one from Asia - South Korea, when they co-hosted the tournament. That Koreans were the only outsiders that advanced to a semi-final, where they lost to Germany.

Mexico are the CONCACF power, yet have lost seven straight round of 16 matches and been frustrated in thgeir national quest to reach "el quinto partido" - the fifth match - for the first time since 1986.

"The mentality is changing, it's changing," Mexico forward Javier Hernandez told Fox after the loss to Brazil.

"In the world you can see that, You can feel it."

The quarterfinals are all European and South American for the fourth time in nine World Cups, after 1994, '98 and '06.

Only once has more than one outsider made the last eight, when CONCACAF, Africa and Asia each advanced a team in 2002.

Lalas thinks Africa is the most likely nation to break the powers' hegemony.

"While it would be different and unique and never-before seen, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility," he said.

"Certainly if a CONCACAF team did it, it would be a huge, huge surprise.

"You not only need to be good, you need to have a little bit of luck."