GROUP H: BELGIUM VS. RUSSIA
Where: Rio de Janeiro. Time: 9 a.m. PDT. TV: ABC, Univision.
The buzz: Belgium was expected to go far in this tournament, but it struggled to finish in an opener in which it dominated possession and outshot Algeria, 13-2, yet still needed two late goals from substitutes Dries Mertens and Marouane Fellaini to win. Now it may have to face Russia without its captain and box-to-box midfielder Vincent Kompany, who has a groin strain. Russia didn't look much better in its first game with goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev grabbing, and then dropping, an easy shot from South Korea's Lee Keun-Ho across the goal line, forcing Russia to fight back for a 1-1 draw. That could send Akinfeev to the sidelines and it certainly makes Russia the more desperate team because another draw won't help it much, and a loss could prove devastating.
GROUP H: SOUTH KOREA VS. ALGERIA
Where: Porto Alegre. Time: Noon. PDT. TV: ABC, Univision.
The buzz: South Korea was lucky to get a draw in its opener after being outplayed by Russia. Algeria, on the other hand, was probably unlucky not to get a better result in its first game, with two late Belgian scores erasing Sofiane Feghouli's first-half penalty-shot goal. Algeria's tournament is all but done with a loss. The Koreans will probably be without midfielder Ha Dae-Sung, who has a damaged ligament in his left foot.
GROUP G: U.S. VS. PORTUGAL
Where: Manaus. Time: 3 p.m. PDT. TV: ESPN, Univision.
The buzz: With a tie, the U.S. would all but punch its ticket to the second round. Portugal, on the other hand, was hammered by Germany in its opener and is down five goals to the U.S. in goal differential, the first tiebreaker should both teams finish group play even. Portugal needs a victory to get its World Cup back on track. That will be a tough task for the world's fourth-ranked team, which is without two starters because of injury, one lost to a red card and reigning world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo hobbled by knee tendinitis.
—Kevin BaxterCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun