The king is dead. Spain, the self styled tiki-taka Taliban, have sideways passed their way right out of the 2014 World Cup. Chile tore into the Spanish with a counterattacking pace La Roja could not match. Born when Roberto di Matteo's Chelsea tentatively counterattacked Barcelona out of the Champions League and brought to fruition when Arjen Robben dispatched Sergio Ramos like he was running past a small child, the strategy for gutting the Spanish is now clearly entrenched. Elsewhere in group play Alex Song's despairing punch ended Cameroon's chances, while even Tim Cahill's entry for goal of the cup contests couldn't keep the Socceroos from crashing out.
Columbia v. Cote d'Ivorie- 12pm- ESPN
The winner of this match lands on six points and squarely in the driving seat of this group, but neither team can completely seal a place in the last 16 just yet. Both teams will push up the field, counter attack, and try to score goals. Watch Yaya Toure on James Rodriguez. If the massive Ivorian can impose his will, Les Elephants strikers will get plent of chances to hit at the vulnerable core of the Colombian defense. If Rodriguez is too sprightly for Toure, Columbia will grab and early goal and be able to sit just a bit deeper to protect the center of the back line. It's also very possible that both teams decide that a single point wouldn't be the worst thing with very winnable third matches on the way.
If this game were a cookie it would be: Oatmeal, with something. Could be chocolate chip, could be rotten grapes.
England v. Uruguay- 3pm- ESPN
If there is a loser here, that team would be eliminated by a draw between Costa Rica and Italy. That doesn't mean that these teams will play for a draw though, because neither is a sure thing to win their third group game. This, then, is a game between two teams that very much need a win. Luis Suarez is expected to return, and he must be relishing the thought of running at Leighton Baines, England's left back who was little more than road furniture against Italy. Meanwhile, England will release Raheem Sterling, Danny Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, and Wayne Rooney at a Uruguayan back line that was shredded by Costa Rica. This game will be fast, direct, and should feature some goals.
If this game were a cookie it would be: Chocolate chip. When you reach in the jar, this is what you want.
Japan v. Greece- 6pm- ESPN
Greece is essentially the Syracuse of international football if Syracuse never came out of that infernal 2-3 to try score. Imagine a team playing unathletic, paint packing, old man defense. That's Greece. Slow, not in the least creative, and content to try to score via plodding counter attacks, the Greeks are a pox on watchable soccer. Japan, on the other hand, has the athletes to press and run, and the talent to finish that off. They were bad against the Ivory Coast, but if they get one against Greece, the floodgates could open. On the other hand, they lack a truly brilliant tactician to assuredly crack a well drilled defense.
If this game were a cookie it would be: Gluten, soy, and dairy free. Put it back and go for a run or something.