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Friday, June 09, 2006

6/9 World Cup of Coffee: Game On

Hey, remember this guy? Where have you gone, Carlos Valderrama...

Ladies and gentlemen, it's match day. After two years of qualification campaigns, efforts to make international rosters, injuries, intrigue, and analysis, it's time to (literally) get the ball rolling. Today at 12:00 PM (EST) we begin with hosts Germany taking on Costa Rica, followed by Poland-Ecuador. Before a brief word on those matches, here are some links you may be interested in checking out...
Our Groups Previews: A and B, C and D, E and F, G and H

Wanna know the TV schedule in the United States--times, stations, etc? Click here.

The World Cup: a time to savour. Nice piece in the Independent to get you revved up for the games.

The Americans, Seriously. Best article I've read on the past, present and future of the US Team and their brilliant manager, The Bruce. Free registration required (New York Times) for now, but read soon before it's archived.

By the way, if you haven't checked out World Cup Blog, you must.

OK, a quick word about today's matches:

GERMANY vs. COSTA RICA
It looks like German captain and best player Michael Ballack probably won't play due to injury, despite his insistence that he's fine. Still, Germany will have too much for Costa Rica, who hasn't looked good recently. Look for German set piece goals because, to paraphrase Lt. Castillo on Miami Vice: that's who they are, what they do. GERMANY 2-0

POLAND vs. ECUADOR
Pretty evenly matched teams, it seems. But here's the stat that decides it for me: most of Ecuador's qualification points (and thus wins and draws) came in the high altitude of the homeland. The friendly confines of Europe (um, a little ironic considering their history with Germany) nudge me toward Poland. POLAND 2-1

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