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World Cup Day 15: Open Thread

While the suspension doled out to Luis Suarez may temporarily steal the headlines, match day 15 has more than enough advancement scenarios to whet your appetite, highlighted by the United States and Germany's battle for Group G supremacy.

Kevin C. Cox

Today was supposed to be all about Group G's showdown between the United States and Germany, a sort of winner-takes all matchup for first place in Group G, one that could easily transform into a Biscotto, as both nations technically only need only a draw to advance. However, now that FIFA has levied a nine match/four month ban on Luis Suarez for taking a bite out of Giorgio Chiellini, the day's actual football might be placed on the back burner for a while.

While it's nice to see FIFA actually sanction Suarez in this instance, is a fourth month suspension really appropriate for a third offense?

Anyway, we care about neither Liverpool nor Uruguay around here, so let's move onto today's matches, highlighted by Michael Bradley's quest for redemption.

The Matches

Portugal vs Ghana: Noon (EDT), Nacional, Brasilia

The internet tells me there are 209 possible advancement scenarios in Group G, but just know this: these two nations are at an extremely disadvantageous position and must hope for a United States loss. If the US does indeed fall to Germany, Ghana would have the better chance for advancing, as they currently sport a better goal differential (-1) than Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal (-4).

United States vs Germany

United States vs Germany

United States vs Germany: Noon (EDT), Arena Pernambuco, Recife

This is the marquee matchup with storylines for days: German legend Jurgen Klinsmann leads his adoptive country against the nation of his birth, the Americans are in a position to advance in the first place thanks to the contributions of several German born players on their roster, while Miroslav Klose needs only one goal to cement his place as the World Cups all-time leading scorer.

Of course, all these intriguing story lines can, and most likely will be, torn asunder by the realization that a draw is the best possible outcome for both nations. Why press the issue when you don't have to? If this match remains scoreless after the first 45, you might as well carry on with your day, cus it will be a snoozer.

Algeria vs Russia: 4pm (EDT), Arena De Baixada, Curitiba

While this isn't the most scintillating matchup of the day, there are advancement implications at stake. Algeria will advance with a victory over Russia or a draw combined with Belgium-South Korea draw.  For the Russians to advance to the knockout stages, they need to defeat Algeria and hope that the Belgians can handle South Korea, or a South Korea victory that does not eclipse a +1 goal differential.

South Korea vs Belgium: 4pm (EDT), Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

Belgium has already secured their place in the knockout stages and will win Group H with a victory or draw against the Koreans. Even if Belgium somehow loses this match, they can still capture the group if Algeria loses or draws against Russia.

There are too many permutations to digest among these four matches and not enough coffee for me to care. The US-Germany matchup is the headline grabber, so let's hope they don't just play patty cake out there.