The World Cup continues Saturday with three group-stage matches (all times EDT):
Group F: Argentina vs. Iran in Belo Horizante, noon (ESPN)
Group G: Germany vs. Ghana in Fortaleza, 3 p.m.
Group F: Nigeria vs. Bosnia in Cuiaba, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
MATCH OF THE DAY
Germany vs. Ghana
Germany had no trouble with short-handed Portugal in its opener, rolling to a 4-0 win. The Germans can make major headway toward the Round of 16 with a win, though they’ll have to do it with a bruised back line: Mat Hummels left the game against Portugal with a deep thigh bruise and may be unavailable Saturday. Jerome Boateng tore thumb ligaments in the same game, though he’s likely to go against the Black Stars.
Boateng’s brother Kevin-Prince is a forward for Ghana, and there are reports that he and other players were unhappy with tactical decisions made by Ghanaian Coach Kwesi Appiah after the loss to the United States. The Black Stars will have to rally, as a loss Saturday would destroy their hopes of advancing to the Round of 16.
If Germany wins, it’s into the Round of 16. If the Germans win and the U.S. beats Portugal, both teams will advance. A Ghanaian win leaves the group largely up for grabs, and the fate of the United States firmly in its own hands.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Mueller, the 2010 Golden Boot winner, had a hat trick against Portugal in the Germans’ opener. He’s scored eight goals in seven career World Cup games, and has a knack for finding his way into space — if not necessarily creating it for himself one-on-one — and will be the Germans’ primary scoring option as they look to lock up a spot in the Round of 16, as they have in every World Cup since 1950.
MORE FROM THE WORLD CUP: