Colombia vs. Greece (12:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Estadio Mineirão, in Belo Horizonte. Notable for not being a new stadium built directly over the ruins of displaced orphanages.
What I'm watching Colombia for: Seeing if they can manufacture chances without star striker Radamel Falcao, out with a knee injury. This matters double since Greece will stack all eleven men like cordwood in front of the net, because this is what Greece does. Creativity will be desperately needed.
What I'm watching Greece for: I don't know why anyone watches Greece, but in the course of a two-team matchup in a soccer game you will, unfortunately, have to watch them. Greece are less a soccer team than a giant speed reduction hump built into the middle of a busy street. Pray they do not score a goal early.
Intangibles: Colombia's glee at returning to the Cup; Greece being so frustrating Colombia accidentally gives them a goal; are we really going to have to watch Greece play soccer; dammit, we are really going to have to watch Greece play soccer.
Announcers: Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman
Watchability: Greece is involved, and that's not good for overall watchability. A conservative 3/10 is the best estimate, with a ceiling of 6/10 for the enthusiast who savors Greece's demise. (That enthusiast is meeeeeee.)
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (3:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Estadio Castelão, Fortaleza. Fortaleza is known for producing MMA fighters, so let's call it the Stockton, California of Brazil?
What I'm watching Uruguay for: To see if Luis Suarez makes an appearance, since he definitely won't be starting because of a lingering knee injury. Uruguay's still dangerous without him, even if Diego Forlan is now old, and will have to rely solely on his flowing blond hair, stunning good looks, and buckets of cash to get him through life. Keylor Navas will be fun to watch in goal, since most goalies who have to fend off a ton of shots are.
What I'm watching Costa Rica for: The random score that sends a lightning bolt through Uruguay and sends the match into a full panic, most likely off the foot of a rapacious Joel Campbell, Costa Rica's talented young striker. Also watching for Costa Rica's back line to fall asleep and allow a laugher of goal, because that's sort of a thing they can totally do to themselves.
Announcers: Jon Champion, Stewart Hobson
Watchability: A solid 6/10
England vs. Italy (6:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Arena Amazonia, Manaus. That's the field groundskeepers have had to paint green due to dead patches. Oh, and the temperatures will be around ninety with eighty percent humidity at gametime. This is what happens when you play a game in the heart of Amazonia in the late afternoon.
What I'm watching England for: Melting in the heat, followed up by the possibility that despite being an obvious underdog here England might steal a goal or two away from Italy if they knife through Italy's static midfield. Wayne Rooney's playing, too! English fans will either love or hate this, with no reactions in between allowed whatsoever.
What I'm watching Italy for: Pirlo and his magnificent beard, the appearance of goalie Gianluigi Buffon after an ankle tweak in practice this week, and the usual Italian brilliance peppered with the usual Italian floppiness. The matchups here are fairly even, so in a cruel game like soccer a shady penalty would usually be the difference here. A shady penalty is definitely going to be the difference here.
Announcers: Ian Darke, Steve McManaman, the Invisible Ghost Of English Sorrows Past
Watchability: Complimentary weaknesses colored by the real possibility of a tragicomic finish? 8/10, cannot miss viewing.
Côte d'Ivoire vs. Japan (9:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Arena Pernambuco, Recife
What I'm watching Côte d'Ivoire for: GOALS. GOALS GOALS GOALS GOALS GOALS. Les Elephants are creative, inconsistent, flaky, brilliant at times, and capable and fond of scoring. If you don't love Yaya Touré you are dead, and why are you reading this, dead person? And how? SHARE YOUR SECRETS WITH US, MAGICAL ZOMBIE.
What I'm watching Japan for: Keeping up with CDI handily, since Japan, too, prefers to score goals rather than wait for something to happen. Japan's fun, but in a different kind of way than Côte d'Ivoire, preferring a more organized attack with more defined roles. (Yes, the World Cup is sometimes exactly about the kind of national stereotyping your liberal arts education warned you about.)
Announcers: Derek Rae, Efan Ekoku
Watchability: 8/10, via relentless offense and two teams who couldn't really play consistent defense if they tried.