World Cup games Saturday: Argentina-Iran among matchups

Germans looks strong, but the second game in the World Cup has traditionally been their problem



Where: Belo Horizonte. Time: 9 a.m. PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: Argentina won its first game with Bosnia-Herzegovina but didn't look good doing it. Even the players thought so, challenging Coach Alejandro Sabella over his tactics at halftime and giving rise to talk there's a rift in the team. Either way, Lionel Messi and Co. will have to remain patient against stubborn Iran, which isn't much of a threat on offense but shut down Nigeria on the other end in a scoreless draw. A loss here pretty much ends Iran's tournament.


Where: Fortaleza. Time: noon PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: Germany looked like the strongest team in the tournament when it thrashed Portugal, ranked fourth in the world, in its opener. But the second game in a World Cup has traditionally been a problem for Germany, which has failed to win its middle game in group play four times in the last five tournaments. They've still managed to reach the semifinals of the last three World Cups though. On the other side, Berlin-born midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has called this match a gladiator-style "fight to the death" for Ghana, which lost its opener to the U.S.


Where: Cuiaba. Time: 3 p.m. PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: Much was expected of both these teams and now, one game into their World Cups, both face what amounts to a must-win game if they hope to hang around. Nigeria enjoyed a huge advantage in possession against Iran but fell apart in the attacking third of the field and had to settle for a scoreless draw in its opener. And the African champions will be without injured defender Godfrey Oboabona in this one. Bosnia, which had the misfortune of facing Argentina in its opener, is expected to return Vedad Ibisevic to the starting lineup. He scored the team's only goal in its opener after coming off the bench.

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