Soccer / Sports

Previews of Thursday's World Cup games

Group C:


Where: Brasilia.

Time: Noon EDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: With both teams coming off opening-game wins, a draw here leaves the two teams in good position to advance, but a victory would clinch a second-round berth for the winner. Colombia, already smarting from the loss of Radamel Falcao, its leading scorer in qualifying, will now have to do without attacker Carlos Bacca, who is also out with injury. Bacca also missed the opener but was expected back for this game. Ivory Coast, meanwhile, will be counting on another solid game from captain Yaya Toure and some late-game magic from Didier Drogba.


Where: Natal.

Time: 6 p.m. EDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: A loss for either team ends their World Cup but even a tie could be difficult for Greece, which faces a two-goal deficit to Japan in goal differential, the tiebreaker that would determine which team advances if each finishes group play with the same record. Colombia's speed stunned Greece in the opener so look for Japan to try a similar tactic Thursday.

Group D


Where: Sao Paulo.

Time: 3 p.m. EDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: If either one of these former champions lose, their hopes of advancing are finished. England hasn't been eliminated in the group round since 1950. The more interesting storyline is Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who led the English Premier League in scoring this season but missed his country's first World Cup game in which Uruguay was upset by Costa Rica. Suarez, who underwent knee surgery less than a month ago, says he won't play here either unless he's sound, but he could be persuaded to change his mind and face some of his English clubmates with Uruguay's hopes riding on the outcome.

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