So far the World Cup has delivered. There has been an amazing performance by the second best player in the world and a not so stellar one by Lionel Messi. Iceland showed that they belong in the tournament and even that they could hang with the big teams in Russia. Sunday has more on deck with teams from Concacaf finally making their debut in the tournament.
The first game features Costa Rica, the team who made it to the World Cup thanks to single handedly stopping the US from qualifying for the World Cup by having a handful of fans show up in New Jersey. The game shapes up to be an interesting one with Champions League winner Keylor Navas of Real Madrid hoping to recapture the magical run of the team’s 2014 World Cup. Could he and a group of players plying thier trade in MLS, their domestic league, South America, or smaller clubs scattered throughout Europe overcome Serbia?
Next, Mexico will take on Germany in a game that is dripping with narrative. Can Mexico avenge their 4-1 loss to Der Mannschaft last year in the Confederations Cup? Will Americans pack bars and hold viewing parties to cheer on El Tri as Landon Donovan has encouraged them to do? How many different lineups did future USMNT manager Juan Carlos Osorio set up and scrap before the game? For Germany, it will be the defending champs’ first chance to begin their quest to repeat. The team is probably the most complete in Russia and has the depth, talent, and coaching to win again. Germany will need to balance how to get the most out of their talented squad and Joachim Low will need to remember that he’s constantly on camera and resist the urge to enjoy his bodily oeuvre.
Wrapping things up for the weekend will be Brazil vs. Switzerland. After a prolonged, some would say suspiciously prolonged, injury that kept him away from Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar is back. He will be looking to remind the world that there are players other than Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mohamed Salah. Brazil is totally stacked with a whole roster full of players with one name like Fernandinho, Neymar, Fred, Willian, and Alisson. They will face Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Switzerland. I’m totally above making a joke about neutrality, but the Swiss would most definitely split the points in this one.
How to watch
Group E - Costa Rica vs. Serbia
Location: Cosmos Arena, Samara
Kick-off time: 8:00am Eastern, 5:00am Pacific
Available TV: Fox (English), Telemundo (Spanish)
Group F - Germany vs. Mexico
Location: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Kick-off time: 11:00am Eastern, 8:00am Pacific
Available TV: FS1 (English), Telemundo (Spanish)
Group E - Brazil vs. Switzerland
Location: Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
Kick-off time: 2:00pm Eastern, 11:00am Pacific
Available TV: FS1; NBCSN (Spanish), Telemundo (Spanish)
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