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World Cup Preview, June 19

Three matches, the first ought to be pretty good, the second involves England and Uruguay so should be absorbing, and the third...well, let's hope Japan shows something this time.

Laurence Griffiths

SBN's three things from yesterday:

Here’s today’s preview/match thread/discussion post on Brazil 2014. Enjoy the matches!

12 noon ET:  Colombia vs. Cote d’Ivoire, Group C.

Location: Brasilia.  Temps in high 70s, but "moderate" humidity (50%) considering the alternatives
Villarreal connections:  Cristián Zapata had a brief spell in yellow – from the Champions League to relegation in nine-plus months. Then he was on loan and finally purchased by AC Milan for the full fee. With Mario Yepes at the end of the road, Zapata may lead the Colombian defense for years to come. Wish results had been better…Zapata is a very talented player.
Group situation:  Colombia 3, Cote d’Ivoire 3, Japan 0, Greece 0. Winners’ bracket in this one – a draw would be OK for both.
Quick preview:  Colombia lived up to the billing in a 3-0 demolition of Greece. The home crowd, climate, and lesser-quality opponent all played a factor as well. Expect a much sterner test from the Africans, and without both Radamel Falcao García and Carlos Bacca, the Colombian midfield will again need to be in the goals.
Cote d’Ivoire pulled off yet another come-from-behind victory at this World Cup by topping Japan 2-1. The Japanese always seem to tire late in matches, so not a huge surprise. There’s a ton of talent in the Cote d’Ivoire side, so discipline and solid goalkeeping should be enough to see them through to the next stage.
Prediction:  1-1. Maybe Colombia gets a late goal to nip it, but they should top the group regardless.

3 pm ET:  England vs. Uruguay, Group D.

Location: Sao Paulo.  Overcast, cool (60 deg) but humid.
Villarreal connections:  Diego Godín…the less said the better. He fits this Atlético Madrid to a T – look no further than their threat to send Óliver Torres to Porto one day after effectively increasing Sergio Asenjo’s asking price.  Martín Cáceres…thanks for the profit after never playing a game in yellow.
England…one of these days.
Transfer targetsEspanyol’s Christián Stuani would be an interesting piece – he would fit in nicely with our revolving pseudo-striker mix. But the asking price will go up appreciably after the World Cup.
England…way out of our price range.
Group situation:  Costa Rica 3, Italy 3, England 0, Uruguay 0. Who’d have guessed that? Must-win today for both sides…or go home.
Quick preview:  It can’t help but be feisty. Luis Suárez against the EPL. Win or go home for two past world champions – they’d join Spain in the conga line leaving Brazil. Should be a great match.
Prediction:  2-1 England. Let’s see if I have the pulse on this one.

6 pm ET:  Japan vs. Greece, Group C.

Location: Natal, where temps and humidity will be high (75 deg, 80% humidity)
Villarreal connections:  I’ve got nothing on both sides. We like sending players to Olympiakos – Hernán Pérez returned from there. And Keisuke Honda is a criminally underappreciated talent now at AC Milan.
Group situation:  Colombia 3, Cote d’Ivoire 3, Japan 0, Greece 0. Losers’ bracket in this one – someone needs a win.
Quick preview:  Japan has the talent to cause anyone problems, but do they have the fitness? Greece has the resolve to complicate matters, but in the heat and with an aging core, it’s likely the end of the road today. Let’s hope the Japanese dictate tempo to keep viewers interested.
Prediction:  Japan 2-0.