As group play catapults to its exciting conclusion at the 2014 World Cup, the vast amount of drama-riddled narratives continue to impress.
Thanks to the group format, storylines of potential, revenge, playing the spoiler and more make the rounds a multitude of times as each match plays out. There is never any true downtime, with each goal mattering in the grand scheme of things as the knockout stage lies on approach.
Tuesday is quite the way to keep the ball rolling in all of the above regards as Groups C and D offer up great sides, individuals and more to peruse as the four matches progress.
Let's take a look at how to catch the action:
|World Cup 2014 Day 13 Schedule|
|D||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Italy||Uruguay||ESPN2||ESPN Player|
|D||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Costa Rica||England||ESPN||ESPN Player|
|C||9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET||Japan||Colombia||ESPN2||ESPN Player|
|C||10 p.m. BST/5 p.m. ET||Greece||Ivory Coast||ESPN||ESPN Player|
Costa Rica vs. England
Blood is in the water.
Costa Rica have already secured a spot in the knockout stages after an impressive path thus far and might need just a single goal to emerge on top of Group D.
Like a true champ, the advantage has not deterred coach Jorge Luis Pinto, who says he will still make changes to keep legs fresh, per FIFA.com.
Oh, and he's ready to inflict some damage on the opposing side, as captured by Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph:
Don't expect this to be much of a match. Unlike most of the prior proceedings, there is not a ton on the line and the English side may have issues finding the back of the net.
Prediction: England 1-1 Costa Rica
Italy vs. Uruguay
Am I worried? No. We are all aware that this is a crucial match, but we are equally aware that we are a strong team with destiny in our own hands.
It would be a big disappointment for me and for the whole team to go out now, but it is not something we have thought about.
We are preparing to go through to the next round. Leaving [the tournament] hasn’t entered our minds.
If the Azzurri are to advance, it will need the form they showed against England on Tuesday. Getting stonewalled as they did against Costa Rica in a 1-0 loss is not a recipe for success at this juncture—especially with the scoring potency of Suarez and his running mates.
Prediction: Uruguay 1-1 Italy
Greece vs. Ivory Coast
It's important to not put too much into the face-value side of the coin, but this one has the look of a dreadful fixture.
Greece have neither the size nor talent to run with most of the teams in its own group, but to further complicate what has been mostly a nightmare so far, captain Kostas Katsouranis won't suit up after being sent off in his side's 0-0 tie with Japan.
Katsouranis hit on a few records as a result, as summarized by ESPN Stats & Info and 8 Fact Football:
All things considered, the Ivorians, with surely another mixed performance from Didier Drogba as a sub, will have little issue dispatching of the opposition as a result.
Prediction: Ivory Coast 1-0 Greece
Japan vs. Colombia
Credit goes to the Japan side for its speed on the defensive side of the pitch, but any hint of offense has yet to matter.
The aforementioned draw with Greece came mostly against just 10 men, yet Keisuke Honda and Co. were seemingly absent from the fixture.
"We lack ideas," Honda told the media, via FIFA.com. "We tried to attack but we just can't put the ball in the back of the net."
Colombia enter with a blistering offense, a four-goal advantage on Ivory Coast and a secure spot in the knockout round for just the second time in history—the first coming in 1990. But don't expect it to be surprisingly close, as no team touts an answer to the Colombia attack just yet.
Prediction: Colombia 2-1 Japan