The 2014 FIFA World Cup becomes more enthralling by the day.
Sunday featured three matches with varied results. A couple of down-to-the-wire finishes and a dominating victory made headlines on Father's Day, as Switzerland, France and Argentina emerged victorious.
The drama continues on Monday with three more matches sure to provide some fireworks.
Germany faces off against Portugal in a battle of world football juggernauts. Later, Iran and Nigeria meet in attempt to keep pace with Argentina in Group F, and the day is rounded out by the highly anticipated debut of the United States against Ghana.
As we impatiently await these three contents to get underway, let's take a quick look back at Sunday's games before previewing Monday's schedule and predicting how the impending games will shake out.
Day 4 Results
|E||Switzerland vs. Ecuador||Switzerland, 2-1|
|E||France vs. Honduras||France, 3-0|
|F||Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||Argentina, 2-1|
Day 5 Schedule
|Date||Time (ET)||Group||Match||TV Info|
|Mon., June 16||12 p.m.||G||Germany vs. Portugal||ESPN|
|Mon., June 16||3 p.m.||F||Iran vs. Nigeria||ESPN|
|Mon., June 16||6 p.m.||G||Ghana vs. United States||ESPN|
The complete schedule can be viewed at FIFA.com.
Day 5 Predictions
Germany vs. Portugal
This match will set the tone, not only for Group G, but possibly for the World Cup.
After Spain was bludgeoned in its opening contest and Argentina won in a less-than-impressive fashion, the winner of this game could emerge as a favorite in this year's competition.
Portugal does feature one of the world's best players in Cristiano Ronaldo; however, the team simply isn't limited to his prowess alone. Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles are fantastic at midfield, while Pepe and Bruno Alves form a formidable defense.
Germany has some question marks entering Monday's contest.
Marco Reus is nursing an ankle injury and will not be joining his team in Brazil. Bastian Schweinsteiger's status is also in doubt after he was airlifted to a hospital to check on a knee injury, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail.
Borussia Dortmund tweeted more details of the Reus injury:
A healthy team could be the difference-maker in this one, and the nod has to go to Portugal here.
Portugal 2-1 Germany
Iran vs. Nigeria
Iran and Nigeria are considered heavy underdogs to Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F.
After Argentina came away with a win on Sunday, neither team can afford a draw, as keeping pace with the Argentinians is crucial.
History certainly hasn't favored either of these teams, as Nigeria hasn't made it out of the group stage since 1998, and Iran has never made it past that point in the tournament.
While the Nigerians seem to be the favorites here—partially due to the play of midfielder John Obi Mikel—the absence of Uwa Echiejile is troubling.
FIFA World Cup tweeted this message from the midfielder:
Iran is a team capable of creating goals, and without Echiejile in the pitch, Reza Ghoochannejhad could have a field day.
Still, Nigeria has a talented enough offense to come away with a victory Monday.
Nigeria 3-1 Iran
Ghana vs. United States
The United States and Ghana can't seem to stay away from each other.
These teams have met in each of the past two World Cups, with Ghana getting the best of the Americans on both occasions.
Despite playing under a new coach, many players from the 2010 United States team remain on the squad this year. Midfielder Michael Bradley is one such player, who spoke of playing against Ghana to Fox News:
Ghana's a team that can cause you trouble, especially in the attacking half. In the attacking part of the field they have guys who have a mix of athleticism, technical ability, and the way they can take certain plays and almost improvise and turn that half play into all of a sudden, a chance. So, we have to understand what they are all about.
I do think it's a different team than the one that we played in 2010, and obviously a different coach. In 2010, they played more a 4-1-4-1. We're pretty organized, so I think all of those little details are to still to be seen; how now they're going approach the first game against us.
The United States is focused on becoming a more attacking-oriented team under Jurgen Klinsmann. This offense will have to be on point on Monday, as anything less than a win could instantly doom the Americans with Portugal and Germany looming in the group.
Klinsmann has high expectations for his team, according to a tweet from U.S. Soccer:
Ghana is a youthful and talented team; however, its inexperience could prove to be its downfall against a veteran-led American unit.
This should be a very close contest, as is generally the case when the United States plays Ghana. Although, this time around, the experience of the Americans will prevail.
United States 2-1 Ghana