Thursday, June 12, 2014 (all times Eastern)
Group A: Brazil (host) vs Croatia
Sao Paolo 4pm ESPN, ESPN3
The host country is familiar with their opponents, having played them in group play in 2006 as well.
Brazil 1-0 winners on the strength of a Kaka goal in the 44th minute, is well aware of Croatia's gritty nature. They will take this game seriously.
FRIDAY, JUNE 13th
Natal 12pm ESPN, ESPN3
Two teams that are both looking to command some respect from group leader Brazil. There is enough star power in this game to make it entertaining, regardless of the disjointed play.
Salvador 3pm ESPN, ESPN3
This was your championship fixture in 2010. FIFA didn't do either club any favors scheduling this game first, but we fans will be thrown right into the fire. Things will get very real following this game. It seems the World Cup isn't truly underway until a top team loses.
Losses don't come much tougher than this, with Netherlands losing in the 116th minute (second extra time) on a play that was borderline off-sides.
Tough pill to swallow for La Oranje.
Cuiaba 6pm ESPN, ESPN3
Chile and Australia have World Cup history. The legendary '74 cup.
We'll be back late Friday with a look ahead at the weekend's fixtures, and brief commentary on the results. Accept this as confirmation that we will begin covering VT Soccer this Fall. We need to learn the rules ;)
Thanks for visiting Gobbler Country, where the executions for failure are long and merciless. How's that for soccer mad dictator speak? Have a great start to the World Cup.
Let the comments below serve as an open thread for anyone shirking their responsibilities in the name of "The Beautiful Game"