World Cup Daily: USA look for revenge

World Cup Daily: USA look for revenge
June 16, 2014, 9:30 am
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Game of the Day: United States vs. Ghana, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)

The United States were drawn into the group of death after finishing atop CONCACAF in qualifying. It's been a long, strange trip to Brazil since then. Jurgen Klinsmann added an amazing prospect to the USMNT system in Julian Green, gave him a ticket to Brazil, and in some eyes, dropped living legend Landon Donovan for him. That last part isn't entirely true, but that isn't stopping most fans from believing it. The United States still have their rock in between the crossbars in Tim Howard, a new captain in Clint Dempsey and their engine in Michael Bradley.

They also face the team that has eliminated them from the World Cup the last two in Ghana. The Black Stars have no shortage of attacking talent in Asamoah Gyan, Kevin Prince-Boateng and Majeed Waris. They do lack in the defensive third, but luckily for them the United States backline is also in shambles. 

The Real Game of the Day: Portugal vs. Germany, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)

The best player in the world vs one of the best teams in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo has been hobbled in the weeks leading up to the World Cup, but even at less than 100%, Ronaldo can still do damage down the left flank and when he cuts in. 

Germany have injury concerns of their own as they lost Marco Reus for the tournament. They were already paper-thin up top with only Miroslav Klose and an out-of-position Lukas Podolski as their options up top, but now both players may be forced to start with Reus out. Germany have one of the two or three best midfields in the world, and will need it with the lack of depth at striker. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Mario Goetze and Mesut Ozil will be relied upon heavily over the next three weeks in Germany's quest for their fourth World Cup. 

Player of the Day: F Jozy Altidore, United States

Listen, if the United States have a shot at beating Ghana they need something, anything, out of Altidore. He needs to do more than hold the ball up well, he'll need to distribute, attack and (hopefully) score for the United States to have a shot. The Nigeria game was either a wake-up call or a mirage. 

Best of the Rest: Nigeria take on the lowest-ranked team in the FIFA rankings in Iran. I watch a lot of soccer, and I can't tell you much about Iran. I think it's safe to say Nigeria will win this easily, even if Iran park the bus. 

Day 4 rewind: Argentina avoided an upset like their neighbors, Uruguay, as they held off feisty Bosnia, and even stopped Herzegovina for good measure. Lionel Messi didn't disappoint as he notched his first goal of this World Cup. Meanwhile, Own Goal is atop the leaderboard with three goals so far in the tournament, this time helping Argentina. Bosnia and Herzegovina didn't disappoint, and still look like the second best team in their group.

Switzerland and Ecuador wasn't a highly thought of match, but in the end Switzerland prevailed against Ecuador despite being the underdog. It's technically not an upset as Switzerland was the seeded team, but oddsmakers all favored Ecuador.  

Honduras played an ugly game against France and were justly punished for it as they tried to ugly it up and France took it to them. The 3-0 score couldn't have happened to a better team. Karim Benzema is one goal-line technology call away from having the lead over Neymar for the Golden Boot.

Football Follies: Goal-line technology has been a somewhat controversial and slow-rolling process to roll out. Most are for it, some in the stone age are against it. One way or another, it was deployed in every game so far in the World Cup and it was finally put to use in the France-Honduras game. Not only did it get the call right, but people complained about it's use because they didn't think it was right from the limited angles. This technology was flawless in it's testing, and has had tons of time to be perfected. Most importantly, it was designed to be sharper than the human eye, so let's not complain about it making a call you aren't 100 percent sure about. 

Predictions: Germany 3, Portugal 2. Nigeria 2, Iran 0. United States 2, Ghana 2.