World Cup Watch: The Top Games for the Week of June 12

Mj 618_348_world cup watch this weeks top games june 12
Marcelo Theobald / Globo / Getty Images

Between the NBA Finals, the U.S. Open, your job, marriage, kids, and basic hygiene, it will probably be difficult to watch all 64 of this year’s World Cup matches. Luckily for you, we’ve selected the one game a day you just can’t miss. Kickoff is June 12, and you can catch all the action live on ESPN channels and Are you ready? 

  • THURSDAY, June 12

Brazil vs. Croatia
When: 4 p.m. ET
Why:  You won’t want to miss Brazil christening their home turf in the tournament’s opening game. With all of the dancing, festivities, and celebrations, the day might look like less like a soccer match and more like Carnival, but with rising superstar Neymar up front, the most successful nation in World Cup history will showcase their mesmerizing, flashy style known as Joga Bonito, or “play beautifully.” 
Prediction: Brazil 2, Croatia 0 

  • FRIDAY, June 13

Spain vs. Netherlands
When: 3 p.m. ET
Why: This is a rematch of the thrilling 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, in which Spain triumphed 1-0 in extra time. La Roja is now the world’s top-ranked team, has won back-to-back Euro titles with some of the sport’s best players, and boasts one of the most attractive styles of soccer, known as “tiki-taka,” or “touch-touch,” which is characterized by short, quick passes that wear down their opponents.
Prediction: Spain 1, Netherlands 0

  • SATURDAY, June 14 

England vs. Italy
When: 6 p.m. ET
Why: With five World Cup titles between them, these two Europeans powerhouses will resume their rivalry in Brazil and attempt to find a bit of their old form in the process. The last time these two teams met was in the exhilarating Euro 2012 quarterfinal, when the Azzuri won the scoreless tie with a 4-2 victory in a penalty shootout. 
England 1, Italy 1

  • SUNDAY, June 15 

Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
When: 6 p.m. ET
Why: Lionel Messi, arguably the sport’s best player, will square off against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the nation’s first ever World Cup match. If the Argentine captain can lead his country to ultimate success in Brazil, it might just cement him as the greatest player since Pele and Maradona. Keep an eye out for Messi’s dynamic partnership with Manchester City star striker Sergio Aguero, as well.
Argentina 2, Bosnia and Herzegovina 0

  • MONDAY, June 16

Germany vs. Portugal
When: 12 p.m. ET
Why: This heavyweight marquee matchup will be just as important for fans of the U.S. as the Yanks will be looking for any help they can get to escape the dreaded Group of Death. Watch the one-man-army of Cristiano Ronaldo, the reigning World Soccer Player of the Year, as he almost single-handedly takes on the world’s No. 2 ranked team from Germany.
Prediction: Germany 1, Portugal 0

Ghana vs. United States
When: 6 p.m. ET
Why: The Americans will be playing with extra motivation after being ousted by Ghana in each of the last two World Cups. Team USA has risen to 13th in the world behind the strength of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, and will look to continue their good run of form after winning all three of their pre-World Cup friendlies against Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria.
Prediction: United States 1, Ghana 0

  • TUESDAY, June 17  

Brazil vs. Mexico
When: 3 p.m. ET
Why: Mexico always finds a way out of the group stage, but after barely qualifying for the tournament, and after losing to Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina in pre-World Cup friendlies, El Tri has a lot to prove. Even though they beat Brazil for gold at the London Olympics, Seleção still holds a 3-0 edge over Mexico in World Cup history. It will take a minor miracle for Mexico to walk away from this game with three points.  
Prediction: Brazil 2, Mexico 0 

  • WEDNESDAY, June 18 

Spain vs. Chile
When: 3 p.m. ET
Why: Chile is the sleeper of Group B, and could use a good showing against Spain to gain some momentum going into their match versus the Netherlands, which will likely decide the second team to will join La Roja in the knockout stage. Spain is a big favorite here, but look for Chile to give them a run for their money on their home continent. They’ll need Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, and Eduardo Vargas to have the tournament of their lives if they hope to survive and advance.  
Prediction: Spain 1, Chile 1

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