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WORLD CUP OPEN THREAD, DAY 15: The Group Stage Endeth

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Oh, Ronaldo... you are a cheeky little douchebag. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Oh, Ronaldo... you are a cheeky little douchebag. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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NOTE: Even if the brackets you filled out for the Bracket Predictor game are looking a bit ugly right now, there's still more bracket fun to be had: head on over to the Soccer Knockout Bracket game to pick how the rest of the World Cup is going to go once the group stage is done.  Group is BHGP and password is "hawkeye."

9:00 CT, ESPN: Portugal vs. Brazil (Group G).  The winner of this match wins the group, although the loser of the game may wind up with a more favorable path to the semis -- right now, the second-place team in Group G would need to go through Chile, Paraguay, and Japan to get to the semifinals, while the first-place team would have to go through Spain and (probably) the Netherlands.  Much could still change (there's a good chance that Spain lands atop Group H) but given the unpredictable results that have erupted throughout this tournament (particularly among European teams), both teams are probably best off just trying to win this match and wait for things to get sorted out.  Portugal looked magnificent in gutting North Korea 7-0, but that was of course North Korea; against non-DRPK foes, they've been incredibly offensively challenged.  Meanwhile, Brazil will be without the services of Kaka (suspension) and Elano (injury) and may rest other starters in prepar

9:00 CT, ESPN2: North Korea vs. Ivory Coast (Group G).  Portugal's 7-goal massacre of the North Koreans on Monday effectively ended Ivory Coast's hopes of making it to the next round -- unless they can put a similar beating on North Korea and Brazil can thump Portugal, they'll be joining all the non-Ghana African teams at this World Cup in watching the rest of the tournament at home.  Still, thus far virtually all of the African sides have exited the tournament guns blazing and there's little reason to expect different from a prideful Ivory Coast side.  

1:30 CT, ESPN: Chile vs. Spain (Group H).  Like its fellow European powers -- France, Germany, England, Italy -- Spain enters the final game of the group stage needing a win to secure passage into the knockout round.  Two of their continental cohorts (Germany and England) managed just that, while the other two (France and Italy) flamed out in spectacular fashion.  Spain was bottled up well by the sturdy Swiss, but had little trouble slicing up Honduras, despite netting only two goals.  Even after securing six points from its first two matches, Chile finds itself in a tenuous advancement position, thanks to its weak goal differential (+2).  A Swiss win coupled with a Chilean loss by two or more goals or a Swiss win by two or more goals coupled with a Chilean loss would make Chile the only team on six points to fail to make it to the knockout round.

1:30 CT, ESPN2: Switzerland vs. Honduras (Group H).  Honduras improbably retains a hope of advancing to the next round, if it can only do two things it's yet to do in this World Cup: score a goal and prevent the other side from scoring any goals (and get some help from Chile).  So far they're 0-2 on both fronts and not doing much to kill the notion that CONCACAF is the United States, Mexico... and a grab-bag of middling Central American teams.  Switzerland, meanwhile, needs only to do what they've been doing all tournament: defend like their lives depend on it and poach a goal (possibly two, depending on the result of the Chile-Spain game). 

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.