World Cup: Sunday’s matchups
COSTA RICA VS. SERBIA
Time: 5 a.m. PDT
TV: Fox, Telemundo
The buzz: Costa Rica was the surprise of the 2014 World Cup, riding the hot hand of goalkeeper Keylor Navas into the quarterfinals. The team didn’t lose a game during regulation in Brazil, getting sent home in a penalty-kick shootout by the Netherlands, and that means it won’t sneak up on anybody this year. Serbia will counter with an experienced team led by Aleksandar Kolarov, Branislav Ivanović and Nemanja Matić. Serbia’s breakout star is Spanish-born midfielder Sergej Milinković-Savic, a tricky attacker.
BRAZIL VS. SWITZERLAND
Time: 11 a.m. PDT
TV: FS1, Telemundo
The buzz: This will be Neymar’s first competitive match since he suffered a broken bone in his foot in February, but Brazil’s talisman eased concerns about his fitness by scoring goals in each of Brazil’s two World Cup warm-ups. With that crisis averted, the Seleção appears primed for a title run in the tournament. Switzerland, ranked No. 6 in the world, won’t be a pushover. It hasn’t lost since qualifying last fall, defeating World Cup entrants Panama and Japan by a combined 8-0 and battling Spain to a draw. Switzerland’s X factors are midfielders Granit Xhaka of Arsenal and Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City.
GERMANY VS. MEXICO
Time: 8 a.m. PDT
TV: FS1, Telemundo
The buzz: Both teams have the talent to go far in this World Cup but have questions to answer about recent poor form. Mexico, expected to be an offensive juggernaut, has scored only one goal since mid-March. Germany, the reigning world champion, has won just once since October — and that was an unimpressive 2-1 victory over a poor Saudi Arabian team. Mexico lost some key players to injuries in the last month. Germany is expected to start Manuel Neuer in goal even though he hasn’t played a competitive match since September.
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