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Insane World Cup finally moves to the exciting stages: Open thread, schedule, how to watch

The past 11 days were just a warm-up for the next four. It's time for this tournament to become crazy.

Buda Mendes

Alright, everyone take a breath. The first two times through the groups may have made this the most exciting World Cup of many of our lifetimes already. But there's more to be had. Today we begin that stage at which you probably want to have two TVs around, though we do it in a pretty boring fashion.

To prevent collusion, the last time through the groups see everyone in a group play simultaneously. In Group B, which kicks off today, that hardly matters. Australia and Spain could have a wild 10-9 affair and most of the world probably won't be watching, because the Netherlands and Chile are battling for positioning. Yawn.

But in Group A? Oh my, Group A. Depending on what happens, we could see any of Brazil, Croatia, or Mexico through to the Round of 16. Brazil have been a bit lackluster thus far, but they should be able to crush Cameroon. That brings it down to Croatia and Mexico. The former played Brazil wonderfully in the tournament's opening match and handled Cameroon with little trouble. The latter have been, for my money, the most fun team to watch thus far. The 0-0 draw between Mexico (ok, really Guillermo Ochoa) and Brazil was one of the best matches we've seen yet.

So yeah, the later matches today look to be pretty amazing. Join us in the comments as we start figuring out the second round of the World Cup!

The matches

Group Location Time (BST)
Netherlands vs. Chile B Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo 5 p.m.
Australia vs. Spain B Arena de Baixada, Curitiba 5 p.m.
Cameroon vs. Brazil A Estadio Nacional, Brasilia 9 p.m.
Croatia vs. Mexico A Arena Pernambuco, Recife 9 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?

It's Ron Vlaar day! He's facing a tough test in Chile, and you can read all about there here.

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.