Even on a day with mediocre-on-paper matchups, we get incredible drama. This is the best World Cup EVER.
Argentina struggled to break down Iran, but an absolutely divine moment of Lionel Messi brilliance made sure that didn't matter. A heroic performance from Ghana has blown group G wide open with their draw against Germany, something the United States will be looking to take advantage of today.
And poor Bosnia. Their loss to Nigeria, which featured a wrongly disallowed goal that would have turned the match on its head, puts them out of the tournament. Group success may have been too much to hope for in their first World Cup runout, but many across the world will still be pulling for them.
Today has two massive matchups. Russia will be looking to improve on a disappointingly flat performance against South Korea, but Belgium will also have a point to prove after falling short of expectations themselves despite their win over Algeria.
In Manaus, the United States are taking on a depleted Portuguese side in hopes of taking control of their group after Germany's shocking draw against Ghana. A win at this point would put them through the group stage and potentially leave them the group winners depending on how they fare against Germany, which could make their round of sixteen matchup much easier.
The lesser of the matchups today is the meat of the awesome-game sandwich, but Korea and Algeria should provide and intriguing time all the same. They line up well tactically, and while Korea is better on paper, we know from the first round of matches that Algeria won't roll over for anyone and should have their chances to shine.
|Belgium vs. Russia||H||Maracana, Rio de Janeiro||6 p.m./ noon|
|South Korea vs. Algeria||H||Estádio José Pinheiro Borba, Porto Alegre||9 p.m./ 3 p.m.|
|United States vs. Portugal||G||Arena Amazônia, Manaus||midnight/ 6 p.m.|
Any Napoli players involved?
Dries Mertens and Faouzi Ghoulam will be working to win points for Belgium and Algeria, and both should start, especially after the impact Mertens had coming off the bench for a woeful Nacer Chadli the last time Belgium played.
What should I keep an eye on?
It's Sunday. It's the weekend. Hopefully the weather is nice. Just sit back and enjoy. If this seems familiar, that's because I said the same thing about yesterday. As far as potential transfer targets, keep an eye on Portugal's squad, as there's several potential additions to be had there, though mostly as backup or rotation options.
How do I watch these games?
In Italy? You're on SkyGO or Sky Mondiale. In the US it's ABC for the first two matches and ESPN for the USA match in English and Univision in Spanish, and both have online streaming platforms, while Canadians friends have CBC and the CBC Sports player. In the UK you can watch ITV for the second match and BBC One for the rest of the day, or use the ITV or BBC players online. If you live elsewhere, check LiveSoccerTV for listings in your country.