Football and math begin to intersect in the third set of games in any major tournament. If team X beats team Y by so many goals and team A beats team B by the same amount, who advances? Already in this World Cup we've seen Mexico beat Croatia in a game that they absolutely had to win and Brazil get a win that guarantees they head their group. Groups D and C wrap up their games today.
Noon kickoffs (Group D):
England (0, -2) v. Costa Rica (6, +3)
Italy (3, 0) v. Uruguay (3, -1)
So the ancestral home has managed to be even more disappointing than usual and somehow be eliminated before the last set of group games has even been played. Roy Hodgson will probably use the last match against Costa Rica to give Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere the playing time they should have had all along. Costa Rica can feel pretty good about their chances of winning the group, since it would take a massively lopsided score line in the other game to send them down, even if they lose.
Italy and Uruguay will probably both be playing for a win, though a draw would also be enough to see the Italians through. Uruguay needed the heroics of the despicable Luis Suarez to knock off England, while Italy relied on two rather nicely crafted goals to do in the Three Lions. Against Costa Rica the Italians played at half speed and lost, while Uruguay seemed to try hard and got crushed for their troubles. This game should be worth watching.
4pm kickoffs (Group C):
Columbia (6, +4) v. Japan (1, -1)
Cote d'Ivorie (3, 0) v. (Greece (1, -3)
This group will hinge on two things: whether the Ivory Coast can get through the eleven men the Greeks always dispatch to guard the goal, and how hard Columbia plays a game that barely matters to them. The Ivorians can advance with a win, a draw, or even a loss so long as Japan doesn't win. The Blue Samurai advance with a win and an Ivory Coast loss or draw so long as Japan gains two goals in differential. Japan will need to achieve that against a team that leads the group and annihilated a Greek team against which Japan couldn't muster a goal.
And don't forget the Greeks (as much as you may like to), as they could also still advance by winning their game over the Ivory Coast and getting a Japan loss. This would, of course, mean the Greeks would actually have to score a goal. In short, the 4pm kickoffs should be action packed from the off as three teams should be playing for a win, unwilling to leave anything to chance.