The World Cup kicked off yesterday with the traditional opening match featuring the host nation, and after a rocky start against an inspired Croatian squad, the home team delighted its adoring fans in the end. Brazil netted all four goals in the match, though the first was an own goal that gave Croatia a 1-0 lead. But Brazil scored the next three goals, including a controversial penalty, to notch the first win of the 2014 Cup and take an early lead in Group A.
Today features the other pair of teams in Group A, Mexico and Cameroon, and the 4 nations in Group B, Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia.
Here are the matchups, locations, times (Pacific time, of course) and networks for today's games.
Mexico vs. Cameroon, Group A - Natal, 9 a.m. PT, ESPN2
Bruin greats Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya will be rooting for their home country Indomitable Lions as they meet our neighbors and rivals to the south in a critical game for both sides. Brazil and Croatia appear to be the favorites to advance from group A, so a loss almost guarantees an early trip home for one of these teams. Friday the 13th will be very bad for one of these nations. See the SB Nation preview here.
Spain vs. the Netherlands, Group B - Salvador, Noon PT, ESPN
A rematch of the 2010 World Cup final sees defending champion Spain face the perennial bridesmaids from the Netherlands. Spain returns a number of players who raised the trophy in South Africa, but they are 4 years older and face a talented Orange squad that will have some revenge on its mind. See the SB Nation preview here.
Chile vs. Australia, Group B - Cuiaba , 3 p.m. PT, ESPN2
Australia was one of the final countries to secure a berth in this year's World Cup and they meet a Chilean team that has been threatening to burst out of the shadow of the more prominent South American squads, and many people are picking Chile as a surprise advance from the group. Though these two teams seem worlds apart, if you ignore the Pacific, they are essentally neighbors. See the SB Nation preview here.
Bellerophon did an outstanding preview of Groups A and B here, so go back and look at B's previews and his amazing College FB comparisons for each of today's teams. You should also check out the mothership's incredible World Cup preview (check out the contributors...) for all you need to know about the biggest sporting spectacle on Earth.
Nine consecutive hours of soccer? Let's get started! This is our Day 2 open thread. Have at it.
Go USA (and Go Spain!)