Germany vs. Portugal (12:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador. You know, the part of Brazil where Anthony Bourdain gets drunk on caipirinhas and makes you hate him even more for having his job.
What I'm watching Germany for: Their lineup, mostly, since injuries have forced some spectacular juggling of their talented pieces, and because those pieces will have to be arranged defensively at Portugal's primary threat, the often-shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo. At 78 years old, Miroslav Klose could even make an appearance. (And probably score two goals.)
What I'm watching Portugal for: That shirtless man, and whether he's going to a.) be fully recovered from a nagging left knee injury, or b.) score like crazy, remove his shirt, and then strip his skin off to reveal an even more beautiful form you previously thought impossible in humanity.
Intangibles: Portugal getting frustrated and turning the second half into a despicable flop-fest; Germany's focus being diluted by Jurgen Klinsmann mass-mailing the roster fresh U.S. passports.
Announcers: Jon Champion, Stewart Robson
Watchability: Two first-rank teams playing at noon on a work day? 9/10
Iran vs. Nigeria (3:00 p.m ET)
Where: Arena de Baixada, Curitaba. Built in 1914 on a former Brazilian Army gunpowder depot, the stadium may be the most explosive part of this game.
What I'm watching Iran for: a semblance of offense, since Iran's a defensive team all too happy to park every bus they can find in front of goal and hope for the best.
What I'm watching Nigeria for: "Cohesion" is the best fake answer here, since the honest answer is "this is Nigeria, one of the most mercurial sides in the world. They could score four today, or lose 1-0 to Iran on an own goal."
Intangibles: "Nigerian soccer."
Announcers: Derek Rae, Efan Ekoku
Watchability: There has to be a disastrous hole in every World Cup schedule, and this is it. 1/10, only value comes in "Morbid Fascination" category.
United States vs. Ghana (6:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Estadio das Dunas, Natal
What I'm watching the United States for: LOVE AND COUNTRY. And also to see how the debut of the Klinsmann youth movement handles a first match against the team that yes, has eliminated the United States from the past two World Cups. As always, the back four of the United States is of grave concern to anyone who'd like them to win, but this team is built around the midfield and Michael Bradley. If he holds and dictates pace, the United States have a chance at drawing or -- hope is the greatest dare of all! -- pulling out a win here.
What I'm watching Ghana for: Defense, since the Black Stars have been short on production lately and will be playing this match in what is likely to be be heavy rain. That leads to the counter, which depends on the back four of the USMNT staying solid, and that's why you watch this game in a bar, because drinking solves as many problems as it creates.
Intangibles: Nerves; the ghosts of 2-1 losses to a nation roughly the size of the state of Oregon; Clint Dempsey's temper; the requisite appearance of a drunken and freshly bribed FIFA ref.
Watchability: 10/10, as I am an American incapable of making an objective call on this game's watchability. (Probably more like a 5/10 for the rest of the world, but whatever GO GO USA.)