Today marks the last day of group play before the round of 16 begins on Saturday.
The United States takes on Germany at noon EST at Arena Pernambuco in Recife. Last Sunday's US match was thrilling and heartbreaking – with 28 seconds left the US lost its lead to Portugal with the game ending in a 2-2 draw. The US-Portugal game set a TV ratings record becoming the most-watched soccer match in US history and also beating viewer numbers for other popular American sporting events including the NBA Finals and baseball World Series.
Now in the last US match in the “Group of Death,” there are several possible scenarios for advancement. Both the US and Germany enter the match with one win and one draw. If the US wins against Germany, the US moves on to the final 16. If the two teams tie, both Germany and the US move on. But if the US loses, its fate in the World Cup will depend on the number of goals scored by them and other teams in their group. Statistician Nate Silver is predicting a 76 percent chance the US moves on to the round of 16. Both teams have said they aren’t conspiring for a draw, something West Germany did against Austria in the 1982 World Cup in what is seen as a disgraceful episode in World Cup history. Once more, US forward Jozy Altidore will sit out the match with a hamstring injury.
Portugal faces Ghana at noon EST at Estádio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasília. Both teams enter this match-up with one loss and one draw. That means to advance to the next round, both teams need this win while also being dependent on the US-Germany match being played over 1,000 miles away.
Portuguese coach Paulo Bento summed up the situation saying, “We’re depending on third parties. We’re depending on results of other teams.” Portugal will need to make up its goal differential – it stands at -4 – to have any chance of advancing.
Algeria plays Russia at 4 p.m. EST at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. Algeria enters this line-up with one win and one loss and Russia comes in with one draw and one loss. Algeria has the slight edge in this match-up. Both teams are battling to secure a spot in the round of 16 along with group leader Belgium. Neither team has reached the final 16 in a World Cup before.
Korea faces Belgium at 4 p.m. EST at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo. With Belgium already through to the round of 16, Korea enters the match with one draw and one loss. Korea will need a win to have any chance of advancing. Belgium has the edge going into this match.
US vs. Germany and Korea vs. Belgium will air on ESPN and Univision while Portugal vs. Ghana and Algeria vs. Russia will be shown on ESPN2 and UniMas/Galavision. If you're not near a TV, you can watch on the Univision website or download the free Univision mobile app. Or if you're a cable-TV subscriber, you can watch on the WatchESPN app