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World Cup 2014: Day Five — open thread

Portugal and Germany meet in the pick of today's fixtures.

Martin Rose

Into Day Five we head, safe in the knowledge that Lionel Messi has turned up, that France have turned up as well, and that this disappearing spray is great, yet nobody's scored a free-kick yet. Weird.

Today's games

Germany vs. Portugal, Salvador, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

Cards on the table time: your correspondent has a strong suspicion that Germany, for all their undoubted talent and for all their super-modern identikit haircuts, are going to be rubbish. And this is where they'll start being rubbish, as Portugal, with a totally fit and up for it Ronaldo, take them to pieces on the counter. Put your mortgage on it.


Iran vs. Nigeria, Curitiba, 15:00 ET/20:00 UK

Yesterday saw Bosnia & Herzegovina play pretty well yet lose to Argentina; here are the other two teams from Group F looking to join Messi & Co. at the top of the group. On paper, where football isn't played, a pretty decent Nigeria side should have too much about them for a defensive, limited Iran.

Ghana vs. USA, Natal, 18:00 ET/23:00 UK

Woof. Bang. Kapow. Etc. Ghana have developed a bit of a habit of knocking the USA out of World Cups, and with Portugal and Germany the other sides in this Group of Considerable Peril, both sides will need three points from this fixture if they're to even think about making the next round. So it should, all things be considered, be fun.

Today's United connections

Not much in the way of current interest, with only Nani for Portugal flying the flag. He has been playing pretty well in the warm-up friendlies, so look forward to him having a decent game followed by endless arguments about whether this means he'll be any use for United next season.

We're well served for ex-United. Tim Howard will be in nets for the States, while Ron-Robert Zieler, former United trainee, probably won't be in goal for Germany. But when it comes to true former United legends, there only once place to go today: the mighty Carlos Queiroz is leading the Iranians. Fans of positional discipline, your time is now.

Oh alright then. Ronaldo. Happy now?

Other stuff

As ever, SBN is positively laden with World Cup goodies. Here's Zito Madu on Nigeria, 1994 and now. Here's Kevin McCauley previewing USA-Ghana. And here's our own Callum Hamilton on Portugal-Germany. Also worth a look are the player profiles. Various club blogs around the network have been writing on their players, and you can read them all here.

Finally, on one of those Other Websites that we're sure you never have time to visit, here's Ken Early writing on Wayne Rooney and the pointlessness of playing him on the left.

How do I watch?

All three games are on ESPN and CBC in the USA and Canada, as well as available on their streaming services. In the UK, the first game, Portugal-Germany, is on ITV while the other two are on BBC1; they can also be watched via the respective websites. For viewing options in other countries, head on over to LiveSoccerTV.