Friday's action in Brazil saw the reigning champions crushed by the Dutch, Mexico overcoming Cameroon, and green paint fixing all woes.
Last Night's Action
Mexico 1, Cameroon 0: Mexico found their way to victory in a downpour despite two legitimate goals from Giovani Dos Santos being waved off. Oribe Peralta pounced on a rebound to score the game winner for El Tri, while Cameroon did not get a shot on target until the 90th minute.
Spain 1, Netherlands 5: We're not saying anyone was counting the Dutch out, but few were expecting a complete rout. While Spain would get on the board first thanks to a Xabi Alonso penalty, Robin Van Persie put in a beautiful header from distance to level the match just before half time.
The second half was constant humiliation for goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who was frequently put to the sword as Spain's center backs collapsed. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben both notched two goals, while Stefan de Vrij contributed the fifth.
Chile 3, Australia 1: As expected, Chile didn't have much trouble with the Socceroos, scoring two goals within the opening 15 minutes to put the game out of sight. Tim Cahill pulled Australia back into the match with a trademark header twenty minutes later, and had a potential equalizer waved off for offside. Chile would score a late insurance goal to put them in a strong position going into their next match with Spain.
The Play To Watch
That Van Persie header, though. A perfect lofted pass from Daley Blind found the Netherlands' striker in stride, who converted with an amazing diving header.
Colombia vs. Greece (12PM ET, ABC) Colombia return to the World Cup for the first time since 1998, but are hampered by injuries. They'll need to put on a strong offensive performance to break down a Greece side who's known best for stiff defending-the Greeks posted eight shutouts during qualifying.
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (3PM ET, ABC) Infamous Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez has recovered from his knee injury but will not be considered for today's game day roster. Costa Rica is similarly suffering, with striker Alvaro Saborio held out of the tournament with a foot fracture. Uruguay has never lost to Costa Rica and Los Ticos are unquestionably the long odds in this one.
England vs. Italy (6PM ET, ESPN) Easily today's big matchup, this battle in steamy Manaus pits Roy Hodgson's overanalyzed English side against an Italian side that typically has their number. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon twisted his ankle in training Friday and is not expected to start, while Danny Welbeck has recovered from an ankle injury of his own and may be available for selection. Keep an eye on Wayne Rooney, who will be trying to find his first World Cup goal in his third trip to the tournament.
Ivory Coast vs. Japan (9PM ET, ESPN) The nightcap features two good attacking teams with notably lax defenses. Expect both sides to come out swinging, with Keisuke Honda leading the attack for Japan while Didier Drogba starts his final World Cup tournament for Les Elephants.
What Else Is Going On?
Remember how we were worried about the playing surface in Manaus a few days ago? It's totally fine, especially after a groundsman was seen applying green paint to the field.
The USMNT players weighed in on Brazil's controversial penalty. "I would encourage my own players, if they feel contact, to go down. It’s the referee’s job, obligation and responsibility to make sure that he gets it right," offered goalkeeper Tim Howard.
FIFA continues its inquiry into the Qatar bribery scandal, and has banned Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer for 90 days for failing to cooperate with the investigation. We're sure he'll be heartbroken for all 90 days.
Major League Soccer may be on break, but the US Open Cup is still being played during the World Cup. The fourth round tonight holds one tantalizing matchup, as the New York Cosmos host the New York Red Bulls in a first-time meeting of the sides.
Mark Geiger will be the referee for the Bolivia-Greece match, making him the first American referee to officiate a World Cup match in over a decade. Before he was a referee, he taught AP Calculus in Ocean County, NJ.
Lastly: Time Magazine helpfully provided a bunch of terrible suggestions to "fix" soccer so Americans like it more. Spoiler alert: the solution is "boxing judges".