World Cup Daily: US only needs a draw

World Cup Daily: US only needs a draw
June 26, 2014, 9:45 am
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Game of the Day: United States vs. Germany, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Both teams just need a draw to get through to the next round, but neither will look to settle for a draw on Thursday afternoon. The big question for the Americans is can they break the curse of Manaus? The four previous teams to play in Manaus lost their next game, and with the Americans having so much on the line, they cannot afford a loss. It's unclear, as of yet, what formation the Americans will go with, but it's safe to assume a change or two to the lineup might be coming after the game in Manaus. Clint Dempsey will still likely be up top, but someone joining him is unlikely after Jurgen Klinsmann chose to go with a 4-2-3-1 against Portugal.

Germany are coming off a disappointing 2-2 draw against Ghana. The Germans were one of the favorites of the tournament and were expected to cruise through the group stage after a 4-0 win over Portugal in the opening game of the group stage.  They did get a goal from forward Miroslav Klose against Ghana, which gave him 15 for his World Cup career, tying him with Brazil's Ronaldo for the most all-time at the World Cup. Klose could break the record today against the Americans.

Player of the Day: F Divock Origi, Belgium

After Romelu Lukaku has had two sub-par performances in a row for Belgium, you have to wonder if 19-year old Origi will get the call to start after his late winner against Russia. South Korea has struggled in the tournament so far, needing an absolute gaffe by Russia's Igor Akinfeev to get on the board in the first game, before being blown out by Algeria. Origi is fast and powerful, and looks just a little bit more hungry than Lukaku in front of goal.

Best of the Rest: Portugal and Ghana play in the other match in Group G. A draw eliminates both teams. A Portugal win doesn't necessarily advance them due to their 4-0 loss to Germany they have a lot of work to do in the goal differential department. Ghana doesn't necessarily go through with a win either, but a win of 2 goals or more combined with a United States loss would put them through to the knockout stage.

Russia and Algeria play in the second match of Group H with advancing on the line. A win for Russia and they are through, a draw or win for Algeria and they are through -- both scenarios assume Belgium beats South Korea. 

World Cup Rewind: Argentina and Nigeria played an incredible game with both teams scoring in the first five minutes on Wednesday, Argentina ultimately won 3-2, but Lionel Messi and Ahmed Musa put their teams on their back and willed them to victory. Messi has scored four of Argentina's six goals so far in the World Cup. The other game in the group saw Bosnia-Herzegovina finally play like the team most expected to advance, unfortunately for them it was too late and they were already eliminated heading into their 3-1 victory over Iran.

France and Ecuador played to a scoreless draw despite a red card for Ecuador. After scoring 8 goals in their first two games it was odd not to see the French take more advantage of the wounded Ecuadorians. Meanwhile, Switzerland beat Honduras soundly to advance to the next round, crushing the dreams of Ecuador and CONEMBOL to get all six of their nations through to the next round.

Football Follies: The Luis Suarez situation is still a national (and international) story as we all await the punishment for Suarez after he bit Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 win over Italy. Suarez is insistent that he didn't actually bite Chiellini, but anyone with eyes knows he did. He's facing a minimum of a 2 match ban, and a maximum of a 24-month ban. 

Predictions: Germany 2, United States 1. Portugal 2, Ghana 1. Belgium 2, South Korea 0. Russia 1, Algeria 1.