If you're an American soccer fan, who also happens to like Roma, who also happens to have a soft spot for Michael Bradley, yesterday...yesterday was not your day. Thanks to a colossal, inexplicable and boneheaded turnover by the man sometimes known as the Bald Beauty, Portugal were able to quickly counter and level the match 2-2, thanks to a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo that can't be described as anything other than sublime. The U.S. is, of course, still very much in play for the knockout phases, but to lose with less than 30 seconds left in stoppage time tends to damage psyches and cripple morale.
World Cup Day 12 brings some double barreled action, with two matches kicking off at noon and concluding with concurrent matches at 4:00 p.m. (EDT), so let's take a quick look at the day's action.
Australia v Spain: Noon (EDT), ARENA DA BAIXADA, CURITIBA
Two nations with absolutely nothing to play for square off in their final match of World Cup 2014. Spain was favored by many to not only win Group B, but to at least make the finals, so if you want to bid Adios to Spain's golden generation, here is your chance. For the Aussies, well, Tim Cahill has been one of the surprises of the tournament, but, yeah, he's suspended.
Like I said, there is nothing to play for in this match but pride.
Netherlands vs Chile: Noon (EDT) ARENA CORINTHIANS, SÃO PAULO
Of course, the flip side of Spain's disappointment is Chile's surprising run to six points, defeating both Australia and Spain. Chile has been absolutely sensational, thanks in part to Alexis Sanchez's blistering start, but have received little to nothing from Juve man Arturo Vidal. Meanwhile, the Netherlands have been running roughshod over Group B, scoring eight goals while only conceding three. Led by Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, the Oranje look downright unstoppable and might break the Europeans-on-South-America-soil hex.
Cameroon vs Brazil: 16:00 (EDT), NACIONAL, BRASÍLIA
If they hope to remain perched atop Group A, host nation Brazil must defeat winless Cameroon. Brazil has received solid performances from Neymar and Oscar, who have accounted for all of Brazil's offense, but they've yet to wow anyone like the Seleção of years past. Cameroon has been just as blasé, if not more so than Brazil, but with the heat between Samuel Eto'o and Roma picking up, he's one Cameroonian worth watching.
Group A's other combatants face-off in what figures to be Monday's fiercest match, as El Tri need to manage at least a draw, while Croatia should come out with guns blazing looking to take all three points and book their spot in the next round. There are assuredly some wrinkles to the Mexico-Croatia advancement dynamic, but a win for either nation will remove a lot of ambiguity.
Where to Watch
Australia v. Spain is on ESPN2, while Netherlands v Chile is on ESPN, remember both matches kickoff at noon, while Croatia v Mexico gets the ESPN treatment at 4pm (EDT), leaving Cameroon v Brazil to ESPN 2, also at 4pm (EDT).