As I explained in what seems like a lot longer than 4 years ago, the fraternity of World Cup winners is quite an exclusive club. Of the 205 accredited soccer playing nations on Earth, only 74 have ever qualified for the World Cup Finals, only 11 have ever made it to the final match, and a mere 7 have ever lifted the most cherished trophy in world sport.
Forget passwords or secret handshakes;
you need a World Cup trophy to get in here.
Brasil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Italy (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
Germany (1954, 1974, 1990)
Argentina (1978, 1986)
Uruguay (1930, 1950)
A quick look at the draw from here on out reveals that of the 8 remaining teams, only 4 are in the exclusive club of World Cup winners: Uruguay, Brasil, Argentina, and Germany. And Argentina play Germany on Saturday so one will be gone. The teams striving to get their Members Only jacket are Ghana, Netherlands, Paraguay, and Spain.
What these four will have to overcome is not playing at home: 5 of the 7 champions won their first World Cup when they hosted the tournament (Uruguay 1930, Italy 1934, England 1966, Argentina 1978, France 1998), and West Germany won their first World Cup in 1954 at their next-door neighbor's house (Switzerland). Only Brasil (1958, Sweden) won their first world Cup far away from the comforts of home. Of course, given that Ghana are playing for the entire continent of Africa, it could be argued that they qualify on home grounds, although one could also argue that it's a bit of a stretch.
So there it is. If you like pulling for the underdog, and you are bummed that underdogs USA, Chile, Slovakia, Mexico, and Japan have all been knocked out, then hitch your wagon to Ghana, Netherlands, Paraguay, or Spain- they would all be great stories.
Ghana- playing for an entire continent, and trying to become the first African team to ever advance to a World Cup semifinal.
Netherlands- Everyone's 2nd favorite team, and widely and mistakenly regarded as the best team to not have won the World Cup (correct answer is 1954 Hungary) when their "total football" teams of 1974 and 1978 were the darlings of the world but ended up losing in the final to the home nation each time, each under fairly extraordinary circumstances.
Paraguay- the ultimate underdogs, just beating Spain would be a massive achievement nevermind getting to the final or winning it. This is their first ever appearance in a World Cup quarterfinal.
Spain- after a full 40 years of always a bridesmaid but never a bride, the reigning Euro 2008 champions boast perhaps the best team on the planet, are certainly the best team at possession and controlling the ball, and have the best goalkeeper to boot. This is the best chance they will ever have to win the World Cup, which if they did would cement them as one of the great teams of all time.