World Cup daily: Day 3 preview

World Cup daily: Day 3 preview
June 14, 2014, 9:30 am
Share This Post

Match of the Day: England vs. Italy, 6 p.m. ET -- The three lions face the Azzurri in a heavyweight bout in their first game of the World Cup. It's tough to complain about Saturday's matchups, and equally tough to pick a winner in this game. In theory, Italy is the better team and England's inexperience and lack of a clear center back pairing could be an issue. We'll also have to see how Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge interact in the same lineup.

However, Italy has their own issues, mostly struggles with their starting striker Mario Balotelli. The enigmatic striker could lead Italy to the World Cup Final, or he could implode at any point. It's kind of up in the air until he gets on the pitch. 

Player of the Day: MF Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast

Toure is coming off a 20-goal season for Manchester City from his midfield position. He's one of the top-10 players in the world and hopefully this World Cup is his coming out party for thosoe who are unfamiliar. Ivory Coast face off with Japan in the late game on Saturday evening. He'll have to spend some time defending Keisuke Honda, which is not an enviable task for anyone. He'll also be counted on to bomb forward and contribute in the attack. He truly is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world, and can be counted on for a key goal or two.

Best of the Rest: Colombia, who was a World Cup favorite before an injury to their star striker Falcao, face off against the defensive-minded Greeks in the noon game. James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez will have to find a way to break down the staunch Greek attack. Meanwhile, another favorite in Uruguay will look to get off to a good start of their own against a defensive-minded side in Costa Rica at 3 p.m. ET. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani will likely have a big game for Uruguay. 

Day 2 Recap: The day started off with more controversial calls from a referee in the Mexico-Cameroon game, making that two in two days. So they are batting 1.000, which is pretty good in baseball. The Spain-Netherlands game started off with a goal for Spain early and five, yes FIVE, unanswered goals from the Dutch. I can pretty much assume no one saw that coming. On the more predictable side, Chile beat Australia 3-1 and out player of the day Alexis Sancez netted a goal for the Chileans.

Football Follies: 2 -- games that had their outcome determined by the referee. That's really not a good start for the World Cup and definitely not the look FIFA would have wanted to it's premiere tournament.