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The Cup continues...


The Group Stage is almost over -- just today and tomorrow to go and we're down to the final 16 teams and the knockout rounds.  Today's games are... well, let's just be blunt: they don't look great on paper.  Group F has featured a lot of teams that have played not particularly spell-binding soccer in this tournament (and we regrettably include Argentina in that mix) and I'm not sure that's likely to change today.  Argentina and Nigeria would both advance to the next round with a draw, and Nigeria even has a decent shot to advance with a loss.  Iran needs a win (and a Nigeria loss) to move on, but that would require them to score a goal, something they've failed to do even once so far in the World Cup.  Bosnia-Herzegovina has already been eliminated from the competition, but they certainly don't want to end their first-ever World Cup with 0 points and three losses, so they should be playing with a great deal of pride.

All four teams are technically alive in Group E, although some need more help than others.  Honduras, for example, needs to beat Switzerland and have France beat Ecuador, while also overcoming the -4 goal difference they have with the Ecuadorians (a Honduras win and Ecuador loss would make that GD at least -2, but that still wouldn't be enough).  France isn't technically through to the knockout rounds, despite winning both of their games and splashing out 8 goals (more than any teams except the Netherlands and Colombia, who have played three games to France's two).  It would require a pretty convoluted series of events to knock them out.  The most interesting battle in Group E is between Switzerland and Ecuador for the other spot in the knockout rounds.  Ecuador needs to beat France themselves or have Honduras beat Switzerland if they want to move on; the Swiss need only get a result against Honduras (presuming France beats Ecuador).


Nigeria v. Argentina (11 AM CT, ESPN and WatchESPN, Derek Rae and Efan Ekoku)
Bosnia-Herzegovina v. Iran (11 AM CT, ESPN2 and WatchESPN, Daniel Mann and Craig Burley)

Ecuador v. France (3 PM CT, ESPN and WatchESPN, Adrian Healey and Alejandro Moreno)
Honduras v. Switzerland (3 PM CT, ESPN2 and WatchESPN, Fernando Palomo and Kasey Keller)

The usual rules apply.