Game Of The Day: Italy vs. Costa Rica, Noon. This game will shape up a highly competitive Group D. Another Costa Rica win would put the Ticos into the knockout stages and cement the biggest upset in the group stage. An Italy win keeps alive the order in this group as well as England’s only real hope of advancing. Even though Uruguay beat England and England has yet to earn a point, Uruguay plays Italy in the final game, and the English have Costa Rica. An English win, and an Italian win in the third game would throw it to tiebreakers for the second group spot.
For The Novice: Group D might well come down to tiebreakers, which are a little different in soccer. In nearly every instance, head-to-head is not the tiebreaker if teams finish with the same number of points (a concept most of the non-fans, particularly in the U.S., really hate). Instead, it’s a team’s goal differential – goals scored minus goals allowed. If two teams still are tied after goal differential, it goes to total goals scored. Only after those two does head-to-head become involved.
Around The World: Honduras is the only CONCACAF team not in charge of its own destiny. The Confederation, home to the United States, has done well to this point. The U.S. and Mexico will go through with one more good game each, and Costa Rica becoming a factor in a group with three former World Cup champions is an upset in itself.
Honduras, on the other hand, looked worse in its first game than any other country besides Iran. Honduras isn’t going to win any tiebreakers, so it has to start with three points today against Ecuador. It might be helpful to play with 11 men for the entire game this time.
Yanks Corner: Chris Wondolowski, fairly or unfairly, has quite a few detractors who feel he shouldn’t be on the national team. Wondolowski isn’t the most skilled player, particularly at this level, but he has scored everywhere he has been. He has been overlooked so many times that one more instance can’t hurt. After going to small college (Chico State) going late in the MLS Draft (41st), being placed on a reserve team, sporadically playing for another team and being traded, 'Wondo’ turned into one the top goal-scorers in MLS. He’s tied for the most ever goals in a season, and his success – 80 MLS goals in five years – finally earned him a spot on the national team under Jurgen Klinsmann. He has done well there, too, with nine goals in 21 caps. With Jozy Altidore unavailable for the Portugal game, 'Wondo’ could have the chance of a lifetime.
If he sees the field, smart money is on Wondolowski continuing to be the effective, if not flashy, striker he has been everywhere else.