World Cup: A look at Monday’s World Cup schedule
A look at the matchups for World Cup games Monday:
ROUND OF 16
MEXICO VS. BRAZIL
Time: 7 a.m. PDT.
TV: Fox, Telemundo.
The buzz: Mexico finished the first round with its worst game of the tournament, frustrated by a defensive Swedish team in a 3-0 loss, while Brazil’s last game was its best of the World Cup, cruising past Serbia to win the group. Neither team is likely to sit back and play defense in what figures to be a wide-open affair, although the heat — the forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s Monday — could slow things some. For Mexico, this is its seventh consecutive appearance in the round of 16; only Brazil has a longer active streak. But Mexico hasn’t gotten past the fourth game since 1986 and has never won a World Cup elimination game outside Mexico. Brazil is battling a number of injuries, the most prominent being the back issue that forced Marcelo out of the Serbia game after 10 minutes. His availability will likely be a game-time decision.
BELGIUM VS. JAPAN
Time: 11 a.m. PDT.
TV: Fox, Telemundo.
The buzz: Belgium’s starting lineup reads like an English Premier League All-Star team — Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen — so it’s no surprise the team was unbeaten, untied and led the World Cup with nine goals after the group stage. Unfortunately for coach Roberto Martinez, everything starts over in the knockout round, where one mistake can end a team’s World Cup. While Belgium has been dominant, Japan sneaked into the second round, running out the clock in its final group-stage game and accepting a loss to become the first team to advance on FIFA’s new “fair play” tiebreaker (basically, the team with the fewest yellow cards). Its only win of the tournament is nearly two weeks old, and the team needs another one here if it hopes to stick around another two weeks.
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