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World Cup 2014: Day Two — open thread

Day two brings three games: one should be massive, one could be painful, and one is entirely unpredictable.

David Ramos

Well, yesterday was a mixed bag. On the one hand, Brazil and Croatia served up a genuinely excellent game, featuring some shambolic defending, some hilarious goalkeeping, a fair dollop of refereeing controversy, one of the all-time great anthems, and the end result was a delighted host nation and a furious Croatia. But on the downside, the opening ceremony was a bit rubbish.

Today's games

Mexico vs. Cameroon, Natal, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

The other Group A game pits two flawed teams against one another. Mexico have been a mess for the last two years but have a fair amount of attacking talent, while Cameroon, who nearly refused to travel to Brazil thanks to an argument over unpaid bonuses, have one of the tournament's most impressive kits. Could be fun.

Netherlands vs. Spain, Salvador, 15:00 ET/20:00 UK

The big one. The holders against a young Dutch side who, while not quite the force of previous generations, have an attacking trio of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, which could be delicious. Some bloke called Louis van Gaal is managing the Oranje.

Chile vs. Australia, Cuaiba, 18:00 ET/23:00 UK

The, er, less big one. Could be exceptionally one-sided: Chile have recently beaten England and were terribly unfortunate to lose to Germany, while Australia are in the process of rebuilding. If Chile are at their best, though, they are out of this world, so it's worth staying up for.

Today's United connections

It's all about Louis van Gaal. The opportunity to watch United's manager managing somebody else is rare and should be enjoyed, though we would urge a note of caution when it comes to drawing conclusions. Club and country management are different beasts, and he hasn't got the United job on the basis of his work with the Netherlands.

Robin van Persie should start, and United can also expect to be linked with a number of the younger Dutch squad members; we've already seen rumours about defender Bruno Martins Indi, midfielder Jordy Clasie and 'new Ronaldo' Memphis Depay. So there's the chance to do a little scouting. For Spain, however, neither David de Gea or Juan Mata are likely to start.

Elsewhere Javier Hernandez is not starting for Mexico against Cameroon but could well be introduced from the bench. Today's late game doesn't feature any United players, but Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez should both start, and have both been the subject of a fair amount of United-centred tabloid speculation.

Other stuff

SBN Soccer is positively groaning with coverage, so head on over there while you wait for the games to start. Particular highlights include Graham MacAree picking apart the tactics from yesterday's game, our own Jack Sargeant's preview of Netherlands-Spain, and somebody called "Andi Thomas" writing about why Brazil's performance was dodgy but encouraging.

How do I watch?

The early and late games are on ESPN2 in the US and ITV in the UK, while Spain-Netherlands is on ESPN in the US and BBC1 in the UK. They're all on CBC in Canada.

In the US, all of these games are online at the Watch ESPN and Univision En Vivo services. They're on ITV Player or the BBC iPlayer in the UK and CBC Sports in Canada. You can find other listings at LiveSoccerTV.