Saturday, 28th June
Brazil vs Chile in Belo Horizonte.
Brazil and Chile have met three times at the World Cup Finals.
The first meeting was in the semi-final at Chile 1962. Brazil won (4:2) with Garrincha and Vava both scoring twice.
Colombia vs Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro.
Colombia and Uruguay have only met once at the World Cup Finals.
Although Uruguay won the Arica group game (2:1) at Chile 1962, both teams went out to USSR and Yugoslavia.
Sunday, 29th June
Netherlands vs Mexico in Fortaleza.
Holland and Mexico have only met once in a World Cup Finals; at France 1998.
The St. Etienne group game, on 25th June, ended in a (2:2) draw; meaning both teams qualified for the Second Round.
Holland went on to reach the semi-finals; where they lost to Brazil on penalties.
Costa Rica vs Greece in Recife.
Costa Rica and Greece have never met each other before in world football.
Costa Rica’s best World Cup performance was reaching the last 16 at Italia 1990; where they lost to Czechoslovakia (1:4) in Bari.
Greece have made it through to the Second Round, at the third attempt.
Monday, 30th June
France vs Nigeria in Brasilia.
France and Nigeria have never met at a World Cup Finals although they did play a friendly match in 2009. Nigeria won the game (1:0) in Saint-Etienne.
Germany vs Algeria in Porto Alegre.
Algeria and West Germany met in the group stage of Spain 1982. Algeria won the match (2:1) in Gijon.
The two teams also played a friendly in Algiers, back in 1964. Algeria won that game too (2:0).
Tuesday, 1st July
Argentina vs Switzerland in Sao Paulo.
Argentina and Switzerland have only met once at a World Cup Finals, in the England 1966 group stage.
Argentina beat Switzerland (2:0) in Sheffield; then lost to eventual winners, England (0:1) in the quarter-final.
Belgium vs USA in Salvador.
Belgium and USA played each other in a group game at the first World Cup, in Uruguay 1930.
United States won that game (3:0) and qualifed for the semi-finals; where they lost miserably to Argentina (1:6).
If USA were to win this game, they could meet Argentina again.
Colombia were playing without the injured Falcao and Cote d’Ivoire started with Didier Drogba on the bench.
The South Americans didn’t need their talisman but Ivory Coast only came to life when Drogba was introduced. He may not have scored a goal but his presence on the pitch must have had an effect.
Next up the two winners meet in Brasilia on Thursday and the two losers get another chance to get their 2014 World Cup campaign off to a winning start in Natal; a midnight kick-off for viewers in Europe.
Even without Radamel Falcao, Group C seriously looks like Colombia’s for the taking; especially if they start off with a convincing win against Greece in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.
Ivory Coast’s encounter with Japan, played at three o’clock in the morning (Central European Time), could be the match that decides who will take the second group place.
This was the viewing time originally planned for the Italy vs England encounter in Group D; subsequently brought forward three hours. The viewing public in Manaus were not consulted about the time change, which was made after pressure from the European television networks.
I’m not sure if I’d rather watch a game that starts at midnight or three in the morning; probably the morning. For some, it’s easier to set the alarm for three than stay up two hours after midnight.
Once the group games are played, Greece could join Australia in going home pointless.
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