FIFA World Cup

World Cup 2014: Updated Schedule and Players to Watch on Day 15

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is tripped up by United States' Michael Bradley during the group G World Cup soccer match between the United States and Portugal at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Sunday, June 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press
Nate LoopFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2014

The 2014 World Cup will wrap up a group stage for the ages on Thursday, and it should be a fine finish as six of the eight teams playing are yet to secure a spot in the round of 16.

The United States, Ghana and Portugal will all be looking to advance from Group G and join Germany in the knockout round.

In Group H, Algeria faces off against Russia for the right to follow Belgium through. South Korea has less than a 1 percent chance of beating Belgium and advancing, according to FiveThirtyEight's World Cup forecasting feature.

Here is the updated schedule for tomorrow's matches, the knockout round and three players to track on Day 15.

2014 World Cup—Round of 16 Schedule
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
June 28Brazil vs. Chile12 p.m.ABC
June 28Colombia vs. Uruguay4 p.m.ABC
June 29Netherlands vs. Mexico12 p.m.ESPN
June 29Costa Rica vs. Greece4 p.m.ESPN
June 30France vs. Nigeria12 p.m.ESPN
June 30Winner Group G vs. Runner-up Group H4 p.m.ESPN
July 1Argentina vs. Switzerland12 p.m.ESPN
July 1Winner Group H vs. Runner-up Group G4 p.m.ESPN
FIFA.com
Day 15 Schedule
GroupMatchupTime (ET)TV
GGermany vs. United States12 p.m.ESPN
GPortugal vs. Ghana12 p.m.ESPN2
HAlgeria vs. Russia4 p.m.ESPN2
HBelgium vs. South Korea4 p.m.ESPN
FIFA.com

(Note: a full World Cup schedule can be found at FIFA's official website.) 

 

Players to Watch on Day 15

Michael Bradley, United States

Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

Michael Bradley has been an absolute rock for the United States, with 12 goals in 88 caps since 2006. However, he appears to be crumbling just when his team needs him most.

Bradley had an uncharacteristically poor performance in the United States' win over Ghana. He was dispossessed three times, completed just 81 percent of his passes and didn't make any key passes according to WhoScored.com.

ESPN Stats & Info did point out that Bradley did a much better job of connecting with teammates against Portugal:

However, his late turnover gave Portugal the possession that led to its last-second, game-tying goal.

Teammate Jermaine Jones was optimistic about Bradley's ability to focus on the game at hand.

"Sometimes maybe you don’t have the best day, but that’s happened a lot of times with me, too. The point is that he has to step on, and whatever happens, we have the chance for the next game," said Jones, as per Sam Borden of The New York Times.

Germany will overwhelm the United States if it dominates play in midfield. Bradley's indefatigable spirit will need to be combined with improved overall play for the Stars and Stripes to have a chance in this one.

 

Andre Ayew, Ghana

Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

Ghana needs a win and some help from Germany to escape the clutches of group-stage failure. Andre Ayew is the Black Stars' best shot at powering home a late goal against Portugal.

Ayew couldn't have found a better time to find the range for the national team. He scored the team's lone goal against the United States, and his thumping header sparked Ghana in the second half of its game against Germany. Bleacher Report UK has the highlight for the latter goal:

As WhoScored's Twitter account notes, Ayew hadn't delivered for Ghana in quite some time:

His combination play with the likes of Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari has been excellent in this World Cup. Their intelligent passing was key to Ghana firing off 10 shots on target against Germany.

Ayew is a threat to win an aerial duel or make a powerful, well-timed run into the box. Portugal must keep track of Ayew if the Selecao want to have any shot at moving on to the next round.

 

Yacine Brahimi, Algeria

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Algeria is on the brink of moving on to the round of 16 thanks to its creative engine in midfield, Yacine Brahimi.

Brahimi was part of the attacking force that propelled Algeria to a 4-2 win over South Korea. He scored the team's fourth goal in that game with some brilliant combination play between him and his teammates.

Brahimi was absent from the lineup against Belgium, a game where Algeria struggled to muster any attacks from the run of play. He also showed great spirit against South Korea, as noted by ESPNFC's Maher Mezahi:

He will have to be careful with his energetic style, as he did commit three fouls against South Korea, as per WhoScored.com.

He's not afraid of Russia's ability to leapfrog his country and promises his team will come out strong on Thursday.

We played some very attacking football against Korea and we need to repeat that against Russia,” said Brahimi, via The Independent's Raf Casert. “It won’t be easy but it wasn’t easy [against Korea] either and that didn’t stop us from keeping our calm and playing some good football.” 

Algeria will definitely need to create a goal or two in order to keep pace with Russia and move on to the next round; Brahimi will almost surely be involved.

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