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WORLD CUP OPEN THREAD, DAY 12: The French Farce Must Continue

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Hmm.  Maybe I <em>shouldn't</em> have handled that ball after all...  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't have handled that ball after all... (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
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9:00 CT, ESPN: Mexico vs. Uruguay (Group A).  Uruguay and Mexico are atop Group A, with Uruguay enjoying a narrow advantage based on their better goal difference (+3 versus Mexico's +2 GD).  In theory, both sides could happily play out a dull, lifeless draw and ensure that both sides skip into the next round.  In practice, however, that means that Mexico will likely draw a rampaging Argentina side as their first opponent in the knockout round.  Since that may not be someone they're too keen on facing, it wouldn't be a shock to see Mexico go for the win in this game.  It's difficult to say how good either side is, since their opponents have been a South Africa side that's high on heart but low on talent, and France side that's low on pride, but high on talent.  Difficult to say what to expect out of this one, although a draw does seem likely.

9:00 CT, ESPN2: France vs. South Africa (Group A).  Neither France nor South Africa have officially been eliminated from contention for a spot in the knockout rounds, but with negative goal differences (-2 for France, -3 for Mexico) and a single point apiece, they both need a fair amount of help (a decisive win in their own game and a decisive loss for one of the sides in the Uruguay-Mexico match).  With French players getting sent home and the entire team striking from practice, it certainly seems like they're ready for their disastrous World Cup run to be at an end.  Or perhaps they'll actually play with a bit of spirit just to stick it to their reviled coach, Raymond Domenench.  Any result seems possible, really.

1:30 CT, ESPN: Argentina vs. Greece (Group B). The Greeks appeared to be headed for another lifeless performance and an early exit from the tournament until Sani Keita of Nigeria lost his mind and got a red card for kicking at a Greek player on the out-of-bounds line.  The previously moribund Greek side sprung to life and scored not one but two goals (their only two goals in World Cup history, in fact) and came away with the win -- and new life in Group B.  Unfortunately, they're now up against Argentina, one of the few sides who's actually looked quality in this tournament.  While Argentina has looked dodgy at the back thus far, Greece is not the team to really put them to the test.  Argentina has the group all but won, but here's guessing that they want to advance in style.

1:30 CT, ESPN2: Nigeria vs. South Korea (Group B).  Despite not notching a single point in this tournament, Nigeria is alive for a spot in the knockout rounds -- they just need to win by two or more goals and have Argentina beat Greece.  South Korea's own defensive frailties were exposed by Argentina, but they may not be quite as tested by the fairly toothless Nigerian attack.  A scoring draw likely sees South Korea through, unless you think Greek can beat Argentina.  And while it would be nice to see one African team through to the next round, the South Koreans probably deserve it a bit more (although certainly both teams would be preferable to seeing the dour Greeks advance).

Anyhoo, usual rules of game threads apply: no porn, no discussion of piracy; if you can't watch the game on TV, there are legal online streams at ESPN3.com. Beyond that, the topic is verboten.