The Austin Chronicle

World Cup Watch

By Nick Barbaro, June 13, 2014, Sports

The First Week: Day by Day

All games are shown live on either ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2, and in Spanish on Univision or Galavisión.

All games are also streamed live on the WatchESPN and ESPN3 services.

Thursday, June 12

3pm: Brazil-Croatia (A)

Opening game upset special: Luca Modric and his strong, disciplined Croatia over a host team that will feel the pressure more and more as the game goes on.

Friday, June 13

11am: Mexico-Cameroon (A)

2pm: Spain-Holland (B)

5pm: Chile-Australia (B)

Day 2 starts with a do-or-die game for our neighbors to el Sud: If Mexico can't beat Cameroon, they're toast. Spain-Holland is a rematch of the 2010 final, but the Dutch have slipped badly. Chile could go far.

Saturday, June 14

11am: Colombia-Greece (C)

2pm: Uruguay-Costa Rica (D)

5pm: England-Italy (D)

8pm: Ivory Coast-Japan (C)

Colombia, back for the first time since 1994, should – despite injuries – be the class of Group C, with Japan and Ivory Coast battling for second. England-Italy is the marquee match of the weekend, but, oh my, those are two very fragile teams. One will go home in disgrace, because Luis Suarez and Uruguay win Group D.

Sunday, June 15

11am: Switzerland-Ecuador (E)

2pm: France-Honduras (E)

5pm: Argentina-Bosnia/Herz. (F)

France is riding for a fall, though not likely against Honduras. I give Ecuador the South American edge in Group E, and Argentina should have little trouble in F.

Monday, June 16

11am: Germany-Portugal (G)

2pm: Iran-Nigeria (F)

5pm: Ghana-USA (G)

Go USA! Everyone thinks Germany and Portugal are a lock; I think, not so fast (see below). Iran-Nigeria, the worst match-up of the first round, could be a great game.

Tuesday, June 17

11am: Belgium-Algeria (H)

2pm: Brazil-Mexico (A)

5pm: Russia-South Korea (H)

Belgium is so many people's dark horse, they've become a favorite; Russia's probably next best in H. And restart: Mexico-Brazil could be for the group lead, or it could be an elimination game; a big one either way.

Wednesday, June 18

11am: Australia-Holland (B)

2pm: Spain-Chile (B)

5pm: Cameroon-Croatia (A)

Spain-Chile should be a great one; Croatia and Holland should each coast in their second games.

Thursday, June 19

11am: Colombia-Ivory Coast (C)

2pm: Uruguay-England (D)

5pm: Japan-Greece (C)

Two power match-ups to start the day; by 4pm, England could be effectively out of the World Cup, barely a week in. Panic on Fleet Street.

First Round Groups – A Preview

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B: Spain, Holland, Chile, Australia

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia/Herz., Iran, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

U.S./Group G notes: Jurgen Klinsmann stayed behind in Florida for a day after his team went down to Brazil, in order to scout first-game opponent Ghana, who routed a pretty well-regarded South Korea, 4-0, in their final tuneup... Meanwhile, Portugal routed Ireland, 5-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo playing a comfortable 65 minutes; and Germany fattened up on Armenia, 6-1. By contrast, the U.S. didn't look that impressive in their three warm-up games, but they won all three, which no one else in the group did, and getting Jozy Altidore untracked with two goals against Nigeria could be huge. I have hope.

Viewing Options

BD Riley's (204 E. Sixth) Waiting for Ireland to get back in again.

Bar 96 (96 Rainey) hosts Austin FC's WC Kickoff party Friday at 5pm, with reps attending from the Austin Aztex and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole's office.

Blackfinn Ameri-pub (11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Domain) is open for all games, and accepting viewing party reservations.

Black Sheep Lodge (2108 S. Lamar) and Haymaker (2310 Manor Rd.) both have beer specials for selected teams playing that day. The American Outlaws have been hanging out at Haymaker, so expect a crowd there for the U.S. games.

Blackbird and Henry (3016 Guada­lupe) owner is of English/German heritage, so expect fireworks.

Champions Sports Bar (300 E. Fourth) has $4 import beers, a full menu, and the volume up for every game.

Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant (214 W. Fourth) will show every game – of course – and will no doubt be a madhouse for England's dates. Brazilian dancers will join the Austin Aztex there for today's opening game.

Gabriel's (1900 University Ave., in the AT&T Center) Food and drink specials, plus a special drink from one of the competing teams for each game.

Holy Mountain (607 E. Seventh) promises trivia contests, drink specials, free Jim Beam shots for every U.S. goal, plus excessive fútbal fanaticism (selected games only).

Justine's (4710 E. Fifth) will be specializing in the French games of course, but the owners are big fans in general. No 5pm games.

Lavaca Street Bar (405 Lavaca) will offer $12 domestic buckets throughout the tournament.

Liberty Tavern (Austin Hilton, 500 E. Fourth) will have all the action on 11 big screens; Austin Men's Soccer Assoc. player cards get 10% off.

Licha's Cantina (1306 E. Sixth) has co-owners from Mexico and France; no 11am games, closed Sun.-Mon.

Malaga Tapas & Bar will have all Spain's games on an HD projection screen, with $5 sangrias.

Midway Field House (2015 E. Riverside) is the former Antone's space on E. Riverside, near Emo's, now redone as a sports bar.

Mister Tramps (8565 Research) is showing all the games – with sound, they stress – plus they have a cool countdown clock on their home page. Also drink specials, etc.

Mohawk (912 Red River) is showing the games on TVs and a projector, with live production sound. Plus "Frosty Beers + Original Cocktails + Food by Frank." For today's Brazil-Croatia game, the Chrontourage will be here giving away beer to the first 50 people to arrive, and Aztex tickets to a lucky few throughout the game. Doors open at 2pm; game starts at 3pm.

Nomad Bar (1212 Corona) is a cozy neighborhood bar off Cameron Road, with big-screen TVs, beer specials, and all-day happy hours on Sunday.

The North Door (502 Brushy) is open for all matches, projected on the 25-foot HD screen in the main room and in the Lounge – "an air-conditioned haven for soccer fans to take in all the action," plus drink specials and pizzas.

Opal Divine's Freehouse (3601 S. Congress) has drink specials all week, and a terrific whiskey selection, in case things go horribly wrong for your team.

Rio's Brazilian (408 N. Pleasant Valley) recently closed, and just reopened under new ownership, so, not sure what to expect.

The Russian House NaZdorovye (307 E. Fifth) will be streaming games and have drink and food specials, including "Half Time Happy Hour."

Star Bar (600 W. Sixth) will show every game during operating hours, though they don't open until 4pm, Mon.-Thu. Free queso during U.S. games for customers dressed in American colors.

Sherlock's Pub (9012 Research) and Baker Street Pub (3003 S. Lamar) claim "the longest happy hour in Austin," and will be open for all games.

The Tavern (922 W. 12th) is the home pub for Austin Aztex fans: If you can squeeze in for the huge England-Italy game Saturday, you can join the post-game march over to House Park to watch the Aztex game at 7:30pm.

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