By RYAN TOLMICH
Groups C and D will get their chance to shine Saturday, with a slate of four games headlining World Cup action.
A matchup between Colombia and Greece will kick things off, with the Colombians entering this year’s tournament with their most talented team since they’re famous 1994 squad. However, Greece is no stranger to deep tournament runs as underdogs, as evidenced by their famed Euro 2004 triumph. The highly publicized absence of Colombian striker Falcao will certainly level the playing field.
The day’s second contest will feature a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay taking on Costa Rica in what looks like the days biggest mismatch on paper. Even without Suarez, the Uruguayans boast an attacking lineup featuring Edinson Cavani and 2010 Golden Boot winner Diego Forlan. They will be heavily favored to kickoff the tournament with three points.
Saturday’s headliner comes next, as a pair of European powerhouses collide when Italy takes on England. Longtime Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is doubtful for today’s action, leaving Italy without their first-choice goalkeeper and their first-choice left back, due to the injury to Mattia de Sciglio. The two sides faced off just two years ago in Euro 2012, with Italy prevailing on penalties after a perfectly taken Panenka from Andrea Pirlo.
Finally, Didier Drogba and the Ivory Coast round out today’s action when they take on Keisuke Honda and Japan. Both sides are a part of a wide-open race to emerge from Group C with Colombia and Greece, so a hot start will be crucial to a possible knockout stage run.
If you will be watching today’s matches, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (TV listings after the jump):
TODAY’S WORLD CUP SOCCER ON TV
11:30am – Colombia vs. Greece – ABC
2:30am – Uruguay vs. Costa Rica – ABC
5:30pm – England vs. Italy – ESPN
8:30pm – Ivory Coast vs. Japan – ESPN