By DAN ITEL
On a day of international friendlies around the globe, one of Wednesday’s most highly anticipated matches will happen right here on American soil — although it won’t feature the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Mexico, still trying to find their form after a perilous World Cup qualifying cycle that nearly left them out in the cold, will be greeted by their loyal followers north of the border when they take on Nigeria at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The game might not be on the same prestige level as, say, Spain vs. Italy, but it is a big deal in Georgia, with the fixture expected to draw 60,000-plus spectators, which would make it the largest crowd to watch a soccer game in the state’s history. That would certainly be a feather in the city’s cap when it comes to their MLS expansion efforts, which commissioner Don Garber discussed Tuesday.
Speaking of Spain vs. Italy, that is certainly a showdown between two world powers never to be missed.
This World Cup tune-up at Madrid’s Estadio Vicente Calderón will feature the second international debut of striker Diego Costa for defending champion and No. 1 Spain. The Atletico Madrid striker who has 21 La Liga goals this season, ironically, made his first debut for Brazil against Italy (No. 8 in FIFA rankings) last March but controversially changed allegiances.
In another meeting of giants Wednesday, Germany (No. 2) will play host to Chile (No. 14) at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart.
And it could be a day for history for the Germans, with Miroslav Klose seeing his chance to become Die Mannschaft’s all-time leading scorer. The 35-year-old Lazio striker is tied with the legendary Gerd Muller at 68 goals heading into the clash.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action. (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):
1 pm – Colombia vs. Tunisia – beIN Sports
1 pm – Ukraine vs. USA – ESPN2, Unimas, ESPN3, Univision Deportes
1:30 pm – Turkey vs. Sweden – beIN Sports 1
2 pm – Romania vs. Argentina – ESPN Deportes, ESPN3, Watch ESPN
2:30 pm – Austria vs. Uruguay – beIN Sports USA
2:45 pm – Germany vs. Chile – Galavision, ESPN3, Watch ESPN
2:45 pm – Ireland Republic vs. Serbia – GolTV USA
3 pm – France vs. Netherlands – ESPN3, Univision Deportes, Watch ESPN
3 pm – England vs. Denmark – Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go
3 pm – Australia vs. Ecuador – BeIN Sports
3:45 pm – Portugal vs. Cameroon – ESPN3, Watch ESPN
4 pm – Spain vs. Italy – ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, ESPN3
8:30 pm – Mexico vs. Nigeria – UniMas, ESPN3, Watch ESPN, Univision Deportes
Rafa Marquez is having a horrible game so far.
Got burned many times from what a saw and the score sheet reflected that.
I see Ochoa is wearing his Mickey Mouse uniform again.
And the field players wearing Charlie Brown.
Didn’t know he owned Adidas
Jesus, if you want a good reason soccer isn’t advancing as fast as it can, listen to Kasey Keller commentate this Spain/Italy game.
This guy is horrifically bad at understanding the game.
I wasn’t watch the game, can you expand on this? What was Keller saying?
Not even kidding, he spent the ENTIRE second half talking trash about Diego Costa.
It was Costas first game EVER with Spain.
He kept telling everyone how Costa was failing and this is his only shot and blah, blah, blah. It got so bad the other commentator actually cut him off to tell him to stop at one point.
He then went on to explain Spain is so good because they’re more athletic than everyone else. That was why they are so good.
He’s a complete idiot.
Cameroon tied it up. 1-1.
Chrissy scored. =/
Kljestan is playing and Bradley is not.
Back line communication
Overall intensity and ball pressure
Overall too wasteful with possession.
Not so worried about back line. 3 of these 4 will not be playing at the WC.
Ghana losing to Montenegro.
Watching the Ghana friendly. The German announcer just said: Ghana is not sharp.
Their crosses and corners keep going way high or short.
Lots of chips over the top. Looks like a game for Omar. They almost gave away a 1v1 with the keeper off corner. Defenders pushed far far too high. Montenegro has just got 10 in the box waiting it out.
There is a big difference between the first 11 we will see in Brazil and the 11 on the field for these friendlies today . . . for Ghana, the US and probably Germany as well.
mlssoccer reported Julian Green not with the team in Cyprus, the Abendzeitung reported Julian did go to Cyprus.
I think because he only trained in Germany with them
Gooch. GIve it up to the Big Guy. Hoping for a brace from Jozy
Who is the starting striker for Germany? Klose? Gomez? Max Kruse? Why isnt Stefan Kiessling a starter?
Slightly off topic, but this kind of story gives you hope that if LD performs at his best, we can do some damage: http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2014/02/21/world-cup-has-landon-donovan-outscored-rooney-ronaldo-messi-ibrahimovic-comb?utm_source=Outbrain&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=web&utm_campaign=Paid
Montenegro leading Ghana, 1-0. Interesting.
Rumor has it that two Russians will be joining the Ukraine squad.
I’ll be posting this in a bunch of threads today. Futile though I’m sure it will be. Created yesterday to change the crest. The current clip art badge is just the worst.
Montenegro up 1 goal on Ghana at the half. Can anyone comment on how Ghana looks?
good question was just about to ask this
Did you see them against Egypt? They’re in beast mode.
I did, hence my surprise at the 1 – 0 scoreline. But it looks like they’re resting starters. Didn’t want to read too much into it, but… curious.
When Twellman mentioned in the broadcast today Ghana has nine men on Championship League teams….well, I’m sure my face had a grim look plastered on it.
I just looked up the lineup and ayew, asamoah, muntari, boateng, gyan and none of them are starting. Essien is the only normal starter that started the game out of the big names. They are going to be extremely tough to beat, I think, at the world cup if all of them are in form. No game will be easy. Every game we play has to be our best, to be honest.
They are kind of hard to make since of becaue they often don’t use that A squad.
XI: Howard; Cameron, Onyewu, Brooks, Castillo; Jones, Kljestan; Bedoya, Dempsey(c), Johnson; Altidore.
I guess Klins wants one more look at Edgar. But let’s face it, despite all the talent up top and in the mid tempting you to put Fabian at LB, Jozy scores in bunches when Fabian is on the left flank instead.
That Johnson you see in the line-up above IS for Fabian, not Eddie (who isn’t there)…and in fact, what I wanted to see on the left side.
Yes, which is why my comment references Fabian by his first name twice, and is exactly who I am talking about. This has nothing to do with Eddie. When on the flank, Fabian creates, and accordingly Jozy scores.
As much as I’d like to see Aron out there with Jozy and FJ pushed back (and in Brazil LD replacing Bedoya and obviously Mikey for Sascha), apparently JK really sees FJ on the left as key to the attack for Jozy, which the numbers support.
Overall, I think on paper this is the strongest lineup we could run out.