Yesterday was another cracking day of competition in this World Cup, which has easily been the best in recent memory so far. As the dour, sterile possession game of tiki-taka and it's resulting 1-0 grinders has faded away, a thundering, end-to-end style of soccer has taken over. Yesterday featured three incredible competitive matches, all of which were still being contested at the final kick of the ball (even Iran v. Argentina, remarkably). Here is today's slate.
12 p.m.: Belgium vs. Russia (ABC)
Belgium tops the group with three points, having fought to a very late win over an Algerian side they were fancied to decimate. Belgium had their two most creative players - de Bruyne and Hazard - on the wings, but expect one of them to be playing as a number ten today. Russia got only a point from South Korea as my boy Igor Akinfeev suffered the goalkeeping gaffe of the tournament so far. The game came to life late, but Russia never really sparkled.
If this were some nonsense analogy I'm in too big a hurry to come up with it would be: blueberries on toast, everything just running about as we hope for the best
3 p.m.: South Korea vs. Algeria (ABC)
Both of these teams sat deep and let the game come to them last time out, but only South Korea saw it through to get a point. Algeria lost their nerve late on to Belgium and paid the price for it. Expect to see a more lively game for the South Koreans, as they can cycle the ball up the field and get some shots in against what figures to be a packed Algerian defense. Algeria will hope to hit them on the counter and pray for a miracle.
If this were some nonsense analogy I'm in too big a hurry to come up with it would be: the Spanish Inquisition, where one side bunkers down and tries to weather the storm while the other bears all the menace
6 p.m.: United States vs. Portugal (ESPN)
Portugal got it fed to them by Germany their first time out, while the US pinched an early goal and a late winner while being dominated in between by Ghana. The points are all that matter, though, and the US currently has three of them. If the Americans win here, they'll be on top of the group with one game left to play. Portugal will try to get Ronaldo into rhythm early, while the US will try to not let that happen.
If this were some nonsense analogy I'm in too big a hurry to come up with it would be: a game I'm hoping ends in a nil draw