World Cup 2014 Day 3: Day 2 recap, match times, TV info, odds, previews, and more

A thing of sublime beauty. - Ian Walton

Die Oranje put on a show for the ages and annihilated the holders, while Mexico and Chile did their jobs.

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Preview'

MEXICO
Peralta 61'
1-0 CAMEROON
SPAIN
Alonso 14' (pen)
1-3 NETHERLANDS
van Persie 44'
Robben 53'
de Vrij 64'
van Persie 72'
Robben 80'
CHILE
Sánchez 12'
Valdivia 14'
Beausejour 90'+
3-1 AUSTRALIA
Cahill 35'

The early game was a festival of offside calls, with three goals called back in the opening 20 minutes or so. Cameroon were clueless in the opening 15, but finally started to put together some chances. After the half, though, Mexico asserted control, and when they finally got on the board with a half-hour to play it felt over. The afternoon game, on the other hand, was insanity from start to finish. Xabi Alonso scored after Diego Costa earned a penalty for the Spaniards by tripping over Stefan de Vrij. Just before the half, David Silva nearly doubled the lead, but a nice save by Cillessen averted disaster; on the counter, van Persie started the Dutch onslaught with one of the prettiest headers you will ever see off an absolutely gorgeous pass from Daley Blind.

And then the second half arrived, and Spain left. Arjen Robben scored after some fancy footwork eight minutes in. Nine minutes later, de Vrij tipped the ball in after a free kick from Wesley Sneijder went pinballing through the box. Another eight minutes and van Persie deftly nudged the fourth Dutch score past a sliding Iker Casillas, and finally -- after yet another eight minutes -- Robben put an end to it with another weaving, careening, dancing display inside the box which culminated in yet another rocket off his left foot. It was the worst defeat ever suffered by a defending World Cup champion, and in addition to pretty much assuring the Dutch of advancing, we now have to question whether Spain will even survive the group.

In the nightcap, Chile jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on the Socceroos, and it looked like Australia would never recover. They did, however, putting up a fantastic fight for 75 minutes, including a sharp goal from Tim Cahill. They couldn't find the equalizer despite numerous chances, however, and a stoppage time slot from substitute Jean Beausejour sealed the win for La Roja.

Saturday's Schedule

It's Saturday, which means we've got four games to occupy an entire twelve hours. I hope you bought a couple of cases of beer, because even if you love soccer it's going to be a long, long day. On the other hand, it's great off-season conditioning for the three-month grind beginning in September, right?

MATCH TIME (CT) NETWORK GROUP TEAMS / SITE ANNOUNCERS ODDS
5 10:30am ABC C Colombia vs Greece
Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
Adrian Healey
Taylor Twellman
Colombia 8:11
Draw 9:4
Greece 9:2
7 1:30pm ABC D Uruguay vs Costa Rica
Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza
Jon Champion
Stewart Robson
Uruguay 4:9
Draw 3:1
Costa Rica 15:2
8 4:30pm ESPN D England vs Italy
Arena Amazônia, Manaus
Ian Darke
Steve McManaman
Italy19:10
Draw 2:1
England 15:8
6 7:30pm ESPN C Ivory Coast vs Japan
Arena Pernambuco, Recife
Derek Rae
Efan Ekoku
Ivory Coast 8:5
Japan 19:10
Draw 2-1

Game 4: Colombia-Greece

It's the second meeting ever between the two nations, with Colombia taking a 2-0 decision in a 1994 friendly at Giants Stadium prior to the 1994 World Cup.

COLOMBIA (4-4-2)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal David Ospina Nice (FRA) 25 43 0
7 Back Pablo Armero Napoli (ITA) 27 52 1
2 Back Cristián Zapata Milan (ITA) 27 22 0
3 Back Mario Yepes
(captain)
Atalanta (ITA) 38 97 6
18 Back Juan Zúñiga Napoli (ITA) 28 53 1
10 Midfield James Rodriguez Monaco (FRA) 22 22 5
8 Midfield Abel Aguilar Toulouse (FRA) 29 49 6
6 Midfield Carlos Sánchez Elche (ESP) 28 45 0
11 Midfield Juan Cuadrado Fiorentina (ITA) 26 27 4
9 Forward Teófilo Gutiérrez River Plate (ARG) 29 30 12
17 Forward Carlos Bacca Sevilla (ESP) 27 11 3

José Pékerman, Colombia's Argentinian coach, has had to shuffle due to an injury to Monaco's Radamel Falcao back in January. There's not much disagreement about the expected starters, though Porto forward Jackson Martinez could get the call over Bacca.

GREECE (4-3-3)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Orestis Karnezis Granada (ESP) 28 19 0
20 Back José Holebas Olympiacos (GRE) 29 22 1
19 Back Sokratis Papastathopoulos Borussia Dortmund (GER) 26 47 0
4 Back Kostas Manolas Olympiacos (GRE) 22 9 0
15 Back Vasilis Torosidis Roma (ITA) 29 66 7
21 Midfield Kostas Katsouranis PAOK (GRE) 34 111 10
6 Midfield Alexandros Tziolis Kayserispor (TUR) 29 49 1
2 Midfield Giannis Maniatis Olympiacos (GRE) 27 30 0
14 Forward Dmitris Salpingidis PAOK (GRE) 32 76 13
7 Forward Georgios Samaras Celtic (SCO) 29 74 8
9 Forward Konstantinos Mitroglou Fulham (ENG) 26 32 8

As with Colombia, there's little disagreement in the predicted lineup. Portuguese boss Fernando Santos may decide to replace Tziolis with Bologna's Panatiotis Kone, but that's the only acknowleged alternative to the above lineup. It's also unclear who will be wearing the armband for the Greeks, as usual skipper Giorgios Karagounis, the ancient forward from Fulham, isn't expected to start.

Colombia are the clear favorites in this match, but never forget that Greece have risen up and won a European Championship when nobody expected it. The Ethniki are known as a strong defensive outfit, but Los Cafeteros have the personnel to counter the Greek sensibilities. SB Nation's Jack Sargeant checks in with an in-depth preview.

Game 5: Uruguay-Costa Rica

The biggest news heading into this game is that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will not be in the starting eleven. Uruguay are probably not too concerned; in eight matches against Costa Rica, La Celeste have won six and given up a pair of draws.

URUGUAY (4-4-2)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Fernando Muslera Galatasaray (TUR) 27 58 0
22 Back Martín Cáceres Juventus (ITA) 27 57 1
3 Back Diego Godin Atlético Madrid (ESP) 28 77 3
2 Back Diego Lugano
(captain)
West Bromwich Albion (ENG) 33 94 9
16 Back Maxi Pereira Benfica (POR) 30 90 3
7 Midfiekd Cristian Rodriguez Atlético Madrid (ESP) 28 73 8
5 Midfield Walter Gargano Parma (ITA) 29 63 1
17 Midfield Egidio Arévalo Ríos Morelia (MEX) 32 55 0
11 Midfield Christian Stuani Espanyol (ESP) 27 10 4
21 Forward Edinson Cavani Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 27 62 24
10 Forward Diego Forlán Cerezo Osaka (JPN) 35 110 36

The meniscus surgery Liverpool's mercurial striker Luis Suarez underwent in May is still a bother, and with England and Italy lurking the smart play is for him to sit back and relax today. Suarez and manager Óscar Tabárez are both being predictably cagey about the matter. Should he trot out onto the field, it would certainly be at the expense of Forlan, but don't hold your breath. The other potential change involves Gargano giving way to Nicolás Lodeiro from Brazilian side Corinthians.

COSTA RICA (3-4-2-1 OR 5-4-1)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Keylor Navas Levante (ESP) 27 53 0
4 Back Michael Umaña Deportivo Saprissa (CRC) 31 83 2
2 Back Johnny Acosta Alajuelense (CRC) 30 25 1
3 Back Giancarlo González Columbus Crew (MLS) 26 35 2
15 Back/MF Júnior Díaz Mainz 05 (GER) 30 62 1
16 Back/MF Cristian Gamboa Rosenborg (NOR) 24 25 1
5 Midfield/FW Celso Borges AIK (SWE) 26 63 14
17 Midfield/FW Yeltsin Tejada Deportivo Saprissa (CRC) 22 22 0
7 Forward/MF Christian Bolaños Copenhagen (DEN) 30 55 2
10 Forward/MF Bryan Ruiz
(captain)
PSV Eindhoven (NED) 28 63 12
9 Striker Joel Campbell Olympiacos (GRE) 21 33 9

The real distinction here is whether the Ticos are going to go with a what's essentially a 5-5 or rely on a stronger midfield presence. Should Colombian chief Jorge Luis Pinto opt for the former, expect to see Gamboa shifted to the back with Ruiz sliding forward.

La Celeste is in prime position to get upset here with Suarez out and Costa Rica's Campbell a potential nightmare for a somewhat slow Uruguayan backfield. But Uruguay has the talent to hold off the Central Americans, as Kevin McCauley concludes in SB Nation's preview of the contest.

Game 6: England-Italy

For the third day in a row, we're handed a huge early match between teams likely to advance. These teams have played often; 24 meetings have seen eight English victories, nine for the Italians, and seven draws. It's little wonder that the betting lines are, for all intents and purposes, even.

ENGLAND (4-2-3-1 OR 4-2-1-3)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Joe Hart Manchester City (ENG) 27 41 0
2 Back Glen Johnson Liverpool (ENG) 29 52 1
5 Back Gary Cahill Chelsea (ENG) 28 24 3
6 Back Phil Jagielka Everton (ENG) 31 26 2
3 Back Leighton Baines Everton (ENG) 29 24 1
14 Midfield Jordan Henderson Liverpool (ENG) 23 11 0
4 Midfield Steven Gerrard
(captain)
Liverpool (ENG) 34 111 21
11 Forward Danny Welbeck Manchester United (ENG) 23 24 8
20 Forward Adam Lallana Southampton (ENG) 26 6 0
10 Forward Wayne Rooney Manchester United (ENG) 28 92 39
9 Striker Daniel Sturridge Liverpool (ENG) 24 12 4

Roy Hodgson has plenty of conundrums to deal with ahead of kickoff. Does he really want Wayne Rooney leading the attack? Will Welbeck (thigh) be ready? And how does he want to proceed with the gameplan, anyway? The above lineup reflects the 4-2-3-1 formation; if Hodgson opts for a 4-2-1-3, you'd expect Sturridge to be joined up front by Rooney and either Lallana or Welbeck and Liverpool's third major threat, Raheem Sterling, to take over the rear forward position from whichever of the two isn't assigned to striking duty. (And, of course, if Hodgson decides Rooney's a liability -- an extremely unlikely course, even though many English fans are clamoring for it -- Sterling would probably take his place.) It's a good bet we'll see Everton's Ross Barkley late in the game; it's an even better bet we won't see Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who's still dealing with a knee problem.

ITALY (4-3-2-1 OR 4-4-2)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Gianluigi Buffon
(captain)
Juventus (ITA) 36 140 0
3 Back Giorgio Chiellini Juventus (ITA) 29 68 4
19 Back Leonardo Bonucci Juventus (ITA) 27 37 2
15 Back Andrea Barzagli Juventus (ITA) 33 47 0
7 Back Ignazio Abate Milan (ITA) 27 20 1
16 Midfield Daniele de Rossi Roma (ITA) 30 95 15
21 Midfield Andrea Pirlo Juventus (ITA) 35 109 13
23 Midfield Marco Verratti Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 21 6 1
8 MF/Forward Claudio Marchisio Juventus (ITA) 28 44 3
6 Forward Antonio Candreva Lazio (ITA) 27 20 0
9 Forward Mario Balotelli Milan (ITA) 23 30 12

Like England, Italy is also pondering their formation. The above reflects the likely 4-3-2-1 option, and possible changes abound. Parma defender Gabriel Paletta and/or Torino's Matteo Darmian could replace Bonucci and/or Abate, and even Balotelli isn't safe, as he's been getting a strong push in training from Torino forward Ciro Immobile (not exactly the sort of name you want to see on the back of a forward's jersey). Regardless of that decision, if Cesare Prandelli opts insted for a 4-4-2, expect Candreva to move forward and Marchiso back. Prandelli's quandary here is almost entirely the result of one situation: the ailing calf of Milan defender Mattia de Sciglio. That's causing all sorts of uncomfortable shuffling in the Azzurri lineup. But at least Gianluigi Buffon is still around, as he has been since before Vittorio Emmanuel united the nation in the 1870s.

These teams have been ridiculously even over an extremely long period of time, and this match is causing just as much indigestion in London as it is in Rome. Both sides are going to be vulnerable in the midfield to explosive counters, and the match really could hinge on one simple thing: if Rooney plays, which Rooney will the Three Lions get? For a deeper picture on this match, SB Nation's Jack Sargeant has all the answers you need.

Game 7: Ivory Coast-Japan

Two rising programs meet in the nightcap, with a win crucial to set up what could be a brilliant run to a group victory if they can handle Colombia. It's the third meeting between the sides, all friendlies; Japan has won twice.

IVORY COAST (4-3-3 OR 4-2-3-1)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Boubacar Barry Lokeren (BLG) 34 80 0
3 Back Arthur Boka VfB Stuttgart (GER) 31 80 1
22 Back Sol Bamba Trabzonspor (TUR) 29 44 2
4 Back Kolo Touré Liverpool (ENG) 33 107 6
17 Back Serge Aurier Toulouse (FRA) 21 9 0
9 Midfield Cheick Tioté Newcastle (ENG) 27 45 1
5 Midfield Didier Zokora Trabzonspor (TUR) 33 121 1
19 MF/Forward Yaya Touré Manchester City (ENG) 31 83 16
10 Forward Gervais Yao Kouassi
("Gervinho")
Roma (ITA) 27 54 14
8 Forward Salomon Kalou Lille (FRA) 28 65 23
11 Striker Didier Drogba
(captain)
Galatasaray (TUR) 36 101 65

Barring fitness issues, the lineup above should be accurate; the only exception is that Zokora may be replaced by either Saint-Étienne's Max Gradel or Serey Die from Swiss side Basel. Yolo Touré is also suffering from a hamstring issue, so either of those two might sub in for him as well. And French manager Sabri Lamouchi has been insistent that Didier Drogba's place in the starting eleven for Les Éléphants is not secure, but he hasn't really got a legitimate challenger up front.

JAPAN (4-2-3-1)
NO. POS PLAYER CLUB (NATION) AGE CAPS GOALS
1 Goal Eiji Kawashima Standard Liege (BLG) 31 56 0
2 Back Atsuto Uchida Schalke 04 (GET) 26 68 2
5 Back Yuto Nagatomo Internazionale (ITA) 27 70 3
15 Back Yasuyuki Konno Gamba Osaka (JPN) 31 81 1
22 Back Maya Yoshida Southampton (ENG) 25 41 2
7 Midfield Yasuhito Endo Gamba Osaka (JPN) 34 144 13
17 Midfield Hakoto Masebe 1.FC Nürnberg (GER) 30 78 2
10 Forward Shinji Kagawa Manchester United (ENG) 25 57 19
4 Forward Keisuke Honda Milan (ITA) 27 56 22
9 Forward Shinji Okazaki Mainz 05 (GER) 28 76 38
11 Striker Yoichiro Kakitani Cerezo Osaka (JPN) 24 12 5

If media predictions are worth anything, the Japanese eleven is set in cold rolled steel. Alberto Zaccheroni, the Italian mentor, appears to have things well in order, which surely endears him to the Japanese culture. If there's any question to be asked, it's whether Zaccheroni will instead opt for FC Köln striker Yuya Osako over Kakitani, but he didn't make that choice once during qualifying so it's hard to imagine he'd pull the trigger here.

The one thing you need to know about this match: big offense, soft defense. You know what that means. Age and discipline will probably carry the Blue Samurai through, but anything can happen in a wide-open contest. Once again, it's Jack Sargeant with the scoop at SB Nation.

WHEW. Big day, big post. And with that, this is your open thread for today's 12-hour soccer bacchanal. Join us!

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