World Cup 2014: Day 15 - open thread

Julian Finney

The last couple of World Cup groups come to a close on Thursday, with the final few knockout stage places up for grabs.

Manchester United? Who are they?! Ander Herrera? Who is he?! Today we'll be very pointedly diverting all of our attention away from more shattered transfer market dreams and towards the last slate of World Cup group games, where the final few teams will advance into the knockout stages.

Today's games

United States vs. Germany, Recife, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

The United States were on the brink of guaranteeing their place it the knockout stages before Silvestre Varela headed Portugal level in stoppage time in their 2-2 draw. The USMNT now just need a point to advance alongside Joachim Löw's Germany, though a defeat could see them overhauled by Portugal or Ghana.

Portugal vs. Ghana, Brasília, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

Ghana and Portugal both need to win this match and hope the United States lose theirs to stand any chance of progressing. It'd then come down to the tiebreaking scenarios, as that would leave a couple of teams tied on four points each. With Ghana's goal difference minus-1, Portugal's minus-4, and the USMNT's plus-1, it's probably the Black Stars who the United States are more afraid of winning here.

South Korea vs. Belgium, São Paulo, 16:00 ET/21:00 UK

South Korea and Belgium have both been poor so far this World Cup, but the Belgians have managed to use brute force to pick up two wins and guarantee their place in the knockout stages. South Korea, meanwhile, are rock bottom, and need to beat the Red Devils and hope Algeria don't beat Russia to stand any chance of advancing.

Algeria vs. Russia, Curitiba, 16:00 ET/21:00 UK

Algeria have been excellent at the World Cup so far, having been narrowly beaten by Belgium in their opening game before demolishing South Korea last time out. A win against Russia will guarantee their place in the knockout stages, while even a draw will suffice as long as Korea don't beat Belgium by a sufficient margin to make up their goal difference deficit.

Today's United connections

Ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard will look to keep a clean sheet against Germany and guarantee the United States' progression into the knockout stages, while Cristiano Ronaldo and current United winger Nani do battle with Ghana.

Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj's Belgium take on South Korea later on, though Januzaj rather worryingly appears to have gotten lost somewhere in Brazil. If anyone spots him, let us know. The only game without any United connection at all is Algeria's clash with Russia.

Other stuff

Your correspondent has written big previews for all of today's games: United States vs GermanyPortugal vs. GhanaAlgeria vs. Russia and South Korea vs. Belgium. There's also a lot more over at SB Nation Soccer, including a big recap of everything that happened in yesterday's fixtures. Make sure to check out the coverage over there throughout the day.

How to watch

Both of the early, Group G games can be found on the BBC in the U.K., while ITV have the later Group H matches. Across the Atlantic, ESPN and Univison have the games in the USA, while CBC have them in Canada. All have streaming options available. For other countries, check LiveSoccerTV.

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