Depending on when you were born, there's a good chance that this has been the most entertaining start to a World Cup of your lifetime. Undeniably, it's been as enjoyable as the early stage of any World Cup in recent memory. We're through 11 matches without a draw, the defending champions have been undressed in what feels like the precursor to a true changing-of-the-guard moment. Upsets have happened and traditional powers have bounced back from disappointment in 2010. Perhaps most importantly, we're on pace for the highest-scoring World Cup since the 1950s. It's been madness, and it's been absolutely wonderful.
Today could be a very decisive day indeed; the pecking order in Group F could be truly sorted depending on the outcome of Iran-Nigeria, while the fate of Group G may be all but decided by the time the day's final whistle blows. Germany-Portugal starts the day with a bang, while the favored national side of roughly 60% of the 7,500 to Holte staff take on their own personal Ramsay Bolton in the late match. A whole lot of mind-blowing business has already gone down in just four short days; why would we think this one might be any different?
|Germany-Portugal||G||Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador||5 p.m.|
|Iran-Nigeria||F||Arena de Baixada, Curtiba||8 p.m.|
|Ghana-United States||G||Estadio das Dunas, Natal||11 p.m.|
The World Cup Wrap-Up
Each day during the World Cup, our very own Jack Grimse is hosting the World Cup Wrap-Up on KRNU radio. You can listen live tomorrow morning at 8 AM Central time (2 PM UK time) by going here and clicking on KRNU2. And below you’ll find this morning’s episode!
Any Villa players involved?
Well, kind of. Brad Guzan will be on the bench for the United States, but barring injury will not play. You could always pretend as though Alex McLeish didn't let him leave in favor of spending money on Alan Hutton, though!
Any transfer targets or rival players I'm probably interested in?
I can comfortably say that no members of the German national team are likely to be coming to Villa anytime soon. The same could be said of Portugal, which is annoying seeing as how Vierinha plays for Portugal and would be a perfect fit and realistic target in a world in which Villa weren't in total disarray.
Ahmed Musa plays for Nigeria and has been one of my first buys for Villa in nearly every manager mode I've played over the past year, but so far as I am aware that does not constitute actual interest. Steven Beitashour plays for Iran and his club team is the rival of my other favorite club team, but that is not really relevant to the spirit of this question.
Several Ghana players fit the same mold of "players Villa are a big enough club to buy but won't because Randy Lerner is bad at picking times to sell"-Daniel Opare, Christian Atsu, and Jordan Ayew, for the record-as Vierinha, which will make watching them even more annoying. Of all six teams, the United States has the only player with which Villa have been linked in this window in John Anthony Brooks. Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Mix Diskerud, and Aron Johansson are all players that I think could benefit Villa (but won't) while we can always watch Michael Bradley and think of what might have been. Oh, and on the off-chance that DeAndre Yedlin gets onto the pitch for the US, he's a player that Villa may very well want to keep an eye on over the very near term should he continue to develop.
How do I watch these games?
In the UK you can use ITV or the ITV player online. In the US it's ESPN in English and Univision in Spanish, and both have online streaming platforms, while our Canadian friends have CBC and the CBC Sports player. If you live elsewhere, check LiveSoccerTV for listings in your country.