FanPost

World Cup Day 5 (6.16.14)

Three more games today, including the American debut. Germany and Portugal get the day started on ESPN at 12:00 ET from the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

SBNation previews the game here.

The latest handicap at Ladbrokes* is Germany 19/20, Draw 13/5, and Portugal 14/5.

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via www.dinosaurusrex.ca

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via www.soccer-training-info.com

The second game of the day involves two teams with virtually zero chance to advance out of group, Iran and Nigeria. They play on ESPN at 3:00 ET from the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.

SBNation previews the game here

The latest handicap at Ladbrokes is Iran 3/1, Draw 5/2, and Nigeria 19/20.

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via www.aljazeera.com

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via www.footballiscominghome.info

And then there's the third and final game. The day USMNT loyalists have been waiting four long years to come is finally here. And it's made even sweeter by the opportunity to avenge an undeserved loss against the team that knocked us out in South Africa. No, neither we nor Ghana are "fancied" sides to advance out of group, let alone make noise in the knockout stages--but the United States of America is the world's greatest superpower (at least for the time being), and that means our matches are important.

One of the widely accepted truisms about this game is that both teams must get 3 points to have any hope of advancing. I think that's probably truer for Ghana, who next play Germany, than it is for the US, who play Germany after they've likely secured their path to the knockout stage.

I also think the difference between Portugal and USA/Ghana isn't nearly as big as many seem to think. I don't expect Portugal to go 0-3 or 0-2-1 and out of the tournament, but neither result would shock me. I think it's conceivable that the US could advance after drawing against Ghana because I also think they could draw--or even win--against Portugal. That, combined with a draw against a disinterested Germany, would produce an even goal differential, so that a Portugal-Ghana draw would see the Americans through with 3 points.

So don't freak out if we draw tonight, but definitely freak out if we lose. You should definitely freak out at that point.

The game kicks off on ESPN at 6:00 ET from the Estádio das Dunas in Natal.

SBNation previews the game here.

The latest handicap at Ladbrokes is Ghana 11/8, Draw 12/5, and USA 2/1.

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via upload.wikimedia.org

Gd5929769_a-fan-of-ghanas-socc-4124_medium

via generationbass.com

*Some of you apparently question the wisdom of crowds--which is fine as long as your counterarguments consist of something more than "do you even watch international soccer?!" incredulity.

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