By TIM FONTENAULT
Two of South America’s brightest stars will square off for a spot in the World Cup semifinals on Friday.
Leading the way for Brazil with four goals, Neymar has the host nation thinking that a sixth triumph at the tournament is within its grasp. Meanwhile, James Rodriguez leads all players with five goals, three more than any Colombian in World Cup history. The main man on a team that attacks with speed, Rodriguez has helped guide Colombia farther than it has ever gone in the tournament.
In the other quarterfinal matchup, France and Germany, arguably Europe’s top two performers at the World Cup, will fight for a spot in the semifinals. Both struggled against African sides in the Round of 16. Paul Pogba, France’s young star in the midfield, finally broke Nigeria’s defense in the 79th minute, heading in the winning goal to guide France to the quarterfinals. Germany, on the other hand, needed extra time to best Algeria.
Topping off the World Cup action will be a loaded lineup of Major League Soccer matches, highlighted by two nationally-televised showdowns. The Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls will start NBC Sports Network’s doubleheader from BBVA Compass Stadium. The Red Bulls are barely holding onto fifth place in the Eastern Conference while the Dynamo have not registered a point in MLS since May 17. After that, the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Galaxy, both sitting just outside the top five in the Western Conference, battle for position.
The big game on the MLS schedule on Friday will feature the New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake, two of the league’s top teams. The Revolution have been struggling lately, having lost three straight matches. Salt Lake has not fared much better, however, taking only two points in five matches since May 24.
If you will be watching today’s matches, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (today’s soccer TV schedule is after the jump):
TODAY’S SOCCER ON TV
12 p.m. – France vs. Germany – ESPN2
2 p.m. – Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars – YouTube
4 p.m. – Brazil vs. Colombia – ESPN
8:30 p.m. – Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls – NBCSN
9 p.m. – FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union – MLS Live
9:30 p.m. – Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew
10 p.m. – Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution – MLS Live
11 p.m. – Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers – NBCSN
*All times in eastern time