The knock-out stage on the 2014 World Cup has been kicked off and after I declared the American federations as winners of the group stage and CONCACAF (North America) as biggest surprise, let's have a look at how the federations performed in the Round of 16:
Flattened out to relative percentages:
We can see that the traditionally stronger federations of Europe and South America have taken control in the first round of the knock-out stage.
Despite losing two South American teams from the Round of 16, CONMEBOL has zero lost potential as two games were between their own teams: Brazil-Chile and Colombia-Uruguay. On the other hand, that way, CONMEBOL had a minimum success rate of 2/3 in this round! That adds some perspective to the figures. Argentina was the team accomplishing the no-miss rate for South America, beating Switzerland.
After underperforming in the group stage, European teams seem to have taken back control for UEFA at the cost of the African delegates in the Last 16 and CONCACAF teams Mexico and USA. Costa Rica did manage to eliminate Greece on penalties, however, and is the first North American quarterfinalist in twelve years. Even if it should end there, it is not a bad result at all for one of the smaller federations. The Asian federation had not a single delegate in the Round of 16, the African federation had two, but neither Algeria nor Nigeria succeeded in qualifying for the next round.
A remarkable statistic in this Round of 16 was the fact that all group winners eventually won their games, though it must be said that it didn't always go smoothly: 5 out of the 8 games didn't have a winner after 90 minutes.
If we look at the overall success rate of the federations' teams to make it to the quarterfinals, we get the following figures:
Flattened out it's still very clear that South American teams are performing well in particular - even after a round where they have had to eliminate each other. Europe is catching up a little. CONCACAF is the "small" federation that has the honour sending a delegate to the quarter finals, which by itself will rightly be considered a success.