The 2014 World Cup is finally underway, and after months of anticipation, we'll be in full group play by Day 3. Day 3 will see competition in both Groups C and D, and the competition will be fierce.
A couple of the tournament's better teams will be in action on Day 3, so you won't want to miss Saturday's action.
The next month is going to be chock-full of World Cup coverage, but that gives you no excuse to miss a single minute of play. The tournament only comes around once every four years, so take advantage of it while it's here.
You'll find a complete schedule for Day 3 below, including television info to ensure you don't miss anything. Plus, I've added some predictions for each match on at the end.
Day 3 Schedule
|June 14||12 p.m.||C||Colombia vs. Greece||ABC|
|June 14||3 p.m.||D||Uruguay vs. Costa Rica||ABC|
|June 14||6 p.m.||D||England vs. Italy||ESPN|
|June 14||9 p.m.||C||Ivory Coast vs. Japan||ESPN|
Colombia vs. Greece (Group C)
Colombia are one of the more talented teams in the tournament, and they're definitely the overwhelming favorites to win Group C. They'll face Greece on Saturday in their first World Cup action.
Even without star Radamel Falcao, who will still be on the sidelines for the game, Colombia are dangerous. In Falcao's stead, playmaker Fredy Guarin will likely step up and be the primary threat.
Greece aren't a top-notch squad overall, but they can stymie teams defensively. They allowed just one combined goal in their three pre-World Cup matches against Portugal, Nigeria and Bolivia, so Colombia won't have an easy go of things.
They don't pack much punch offensively, however, so a goal or two should be enough to net Colombia their first win of the tournament.
Prediction: Colombia 1, Greece 0
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (Group D)
Costa Rica are underdogs in Group D, as Uruguay, England and Italy all rank as some of the top teams in the world. Even still, Uruguay aren't taking them lightly, as reported by Larry Ong of the Epoch Times:
"The Costa Ricans are fast and they will try and make life difficult for us. Costa Rica is a major obstacle and we have a lot of respect for them. But our intention is to get the three points."
In all likelihood, Uruguay will net the three points. They boast one of the best players in the world in Luis Suarez, and he'll likely be at the forefront of the attack on Saturday if he can prove his fitness. Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan will join him up front.
Costa Rica aren't a bad team, but making it out of group play given their competition will be difficult. They'll start off by dropping the first game to Uruguay.
Prediction: Uruguay 2, Costa Rica 0
England vs. Italy (Group D)
In one of the best opening-round matchups of the World Cup, England and Italy will face off in what will be a tightly contested match.
Wayne Rooney is someone to watch in this one. His storied career at Manchester United aside, Rooney is one of the better players in this tournament. His teammates rely on him to both score goals and set them up for goals of their own. He'll have a hand in the goalscoring in this one.
Italy counter with Mario Balotelli, one of the most volatile players in the world. His antics can be crazy, and his on-pitch demeanor can be wild at times, but when he decides to take over a game, he generally does.
This match will be a nail-biter. I don't think either team will pull away from the other, therefore the match will end in a draw.
Prediction: England 1, Italy 1
Ivory Coast vs. Japan (Group C)
These two teams can both score goals and will put on a show for the fans in attendance, but the affair should be pretty one-sided. Japan are a much younger team, meaning their legs will likely be fresher later in the match. Ong discussed Ivory Coast's age as a disadvantage:
Ivory Coast have age going against them: Toure is 31, Drogba 36 and defender Didier Zokora is 33 , making them old men in footballing terms. Toure is coming off a grueling league campaign with Manchester City, where he won the Premier League, and suffered a hamstring injury in the last match of the season.
Japan are also very technically sound. They don't focus on one particular area of the game, instead choosing to play efficiently on both offense and defense. They'll look to take advantage when Ivory Coast's aggressive full-backs focus on attacking.
Given that many of Japan's top players, like Kakitani, still play in Japan, Ivory Coast won't be too familiar with their top guys. This will create for a one-sided match in Group C.
Prediction: Japan 3, Ivory Coast 0