The World Cup continues Saturday with four group-stage games (all times EDT):
– Group C: Colombia vs. Greece in Belo Horizonte, noon (ABC)
– Group D: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica in Fortaleza, 3 p.m. (ABC)
– Group D: England vs. Italy in Manaus, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
– Group C: Ivory Coast vs. Japan, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
England vs. Italy
Two of the bigger names in world soccer meet in the remote Amazon rainforest city of Manaus, they’re painting the field green to hide the fact that it’s in terrible shape and anti-World Cup sentiment is high after promised transportation infrastructure improvements never materialized. How each team handles the pitch conditions — and the fact that it’ll be 90 degrees with 80 percent humidity at game time — will be something to watch. The two teams last met on a big stage in the quarterfinals of the 2012 European Championships, won by Italy on penalty kicks.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Diego Forlan, Uruguay
The 35-year-old striker, winner of the Golden Ball of the 2010 World Cup as he led Uruguay to the semifinals, was initially projected to be a backup this year, but he’s likely to be in the starting lineup Saturday because of Luis Suarez’s knee injury. Suarez was the top scorer in the English Premier League for Liverpool last season, but he had knee surgery in late may and is unlikely to play Saturday. Forlan only scored twice in Uruguay’s 16 World Cup qualifying matches and is toiling in the Japanese league right now, but La Celeste will rely upon him to support Edinson Cavani up front against the Ticos.
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