(Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan)
The favorite: Colombia. Even without Radamel Falcao, who is missing the tournament with a knee injury, Colombia still has enough firepower to get out of this tricky group. After that, Colombia is a dark horse to make a deep run.
The sleeper: Greece. It won’t be pretty, but the Greeks will defend deep, tackle tough and hang around in every game they’re in. If a few breaks go their way, don’t be surprised to see them advance.
Player to watch: Shinji Kagawa, MF, Japan. He’s had a tough time at Manchester United, but there’s no doubt the Japanese attacking midfielder has great skill and vision.
Predicted order of finish: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece
Colombia vs. Greece (Sat., noon, ABC); Ivory Coast vs. Japan (Sat., 9 p.m., ESPN);
Colombia vs. Ivory Coast (June 19, noon, ESPN); Japan vs. Greece (June 19, 6 p.m., ESPN); Japan vs. Colombia (June 24, 4 p.m., ESPN); Greece vs. Ivory Coast (June 24, 4 p.m., ESPN2)
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