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World Cup 2014: Day 13 - open thread

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Groups C and D come to a close on day 13 of the World Cup.

Jamie McDonald

Away from the excitement of the absurd news that Manchester United may actually be on the brink of signing a real life good central midfielder, there are more loose ends to be tied in the World Cup group stages. Groups D and C both reach a climax on day 13 in Brazil, meaning you get to watch England in action again!

... what do you mean, "no"?

Today's games

Italy vs. Uruguay, Natal, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

Actually, you're right to avoid England at all costs. It's Italy's game against Uruguay you should be tuning into instead, with both sides engaging in a straight fight to make the knockout stages. As it stands, they're both sitting on three points, though Italy have second place by virtue of better goal difference. That means a draw would be enough to get the Azzurri through, while Uruguay need to win.

Costa Rica vs. England, Belo Horizonte, 12:00 ET/17:00 UK

Tune in if you want to watch plucky minnows mauled by Costa Rica.

Japan vs. Colombia, Cuiabá, 16:00 ET/21:00 UK

This is the second best match of the day. Well, it would if Japan were playing as well as we'd hoped and expected before the tournament began. Instead, the Samurai Blue have been rather lacking in the swashbuckling attacking flair promised by their Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni, leaving the Italian scratching his head like a sad bear on the touchline. They need to beat Colombia to stand any chance of progressing. Oh dear.

Greece vs. Ivory Coast, Fortaleza, 16:00 ET/21:00 UK

Ivory Coast currently sit second in the group, and would guarantee their progression into the knockouts with a win. A draw would probably do too, unless there's a big upset in Japan's game with Colombia. If Greece win, they'll progress, unless Japan manage to beat Colombia. For all of our sakes, let's hope we'll not have to watch Greece any more this tournament ...

Today's United connections

The main connections are, of course, with England. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will probably make their first World Cup appearances for the Three Lions here, while Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney will likely drop to the bench as Roy Hodgson reshuffles his starting lineup. Elsewhere, Shinji Kagawa will probably start for Japan after being dropped in the last match. I understand if that doesn't set your heart racing.

Other stuff

You can brush up on today's games by reading this writer's tactical previews of Costa Rica vs. England and Japan vs. Colombia over at SB Nation Soccer. You can catch coverage of all the day's action over there, and much more. Make sure to read a couple of dispatches from TBB's man in Brazil, Andi Thomas, on how England's meaningless game with Costa Rica is actually quite important, and his musings on the great American soccer fans.

How to watch

Both Group D games can be found on ITV in the U.K., while BBC have the Group C 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.