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World Cup Crunch Time: 5 Crucial Match-Ups To Decide Who's Going Home

World Cup fever is still on the rise as we head to the tail end of the group stages. Here are five matchups we're keeping an eye on!
by Ash Mahinay | Jun 20, 2014
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In case you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been a wildly entertaining World Cup!

Consider that at the midpoint of the first day in 2010, only 11 goals had been scored. This year blitzed that record with 28 and it’s showing no signs of stopping! Count Spain getting thrashed by the Netherlands, 5-1, highly-regarded Uruguay losing 3-1 to Costa Rica, and Italy beating England, 2-1, as contributors to that quickly rising number.

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And lest we forget, Brazil won their opener, 3-1, against a scrappy Croatia side. Cue wild scenes in Brazil–and here! Check out this video and tell us you’d rather watch at home than attend the viewing parties they have at Solaire:

We know you’re super jelz/bitter and still thinking, “Hey, it’s not like it’ll substitute actually being in the stadium,” but in case you haven’t noticed, street parties are the norm even in Brazil itself–not everyone fits into a stadium after all!

Watching with a crowd of like-minded people equals 100 times the excitement of watching in your room at 3 a.m. And you’ve even got great food and OVERFLOWING local and important bevs coming out of Solaire’s kitchens.

But they had us at those samba babes, really. There’s no need for the full replica kit when you head over, but make sure you’ve got a healthy dose of enthusiasm because we’ve heard the festivities there can get pretty wild–which is good because:

a)    It’s the World Cup anyway!
b)    Brazil tends to win a lot = more wild’n out
c)    Those samba babes are probably going to be accompanied by some real Brazilian types; it is Solaire after all

What else have we got to look forward to? Here are five more games in the group stage which you shouldn’t miss (with our totally unreliable but disproportionately confident predictions):

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1) BEL v RUS
June 23, 12:00 a.m.

Belgium will have had their first taste of the action against Algeria, but perhaps a more interesting tie-up will be their game against the bruising Russians. Russia is a faded power, but have the experience versus the young but highly-touted Belgians. If the Red Devils win, we think it’ll cement their place as a threat.

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PREDICTION: 3-1. Belgium to perform above and beyond!

2) USA v POR
June 23, 6:00 a.m.

It’s America versus Ronaldo. The Portuguese will want to keep up with Germany. But we wouldn’t bet on them scoring a goal or two against Team USA, though their players have rarely faced a force of nature like Ronaldo–if he isn’t injured that is! A bad result here could spell the end for Portugal.


3) NED v CHI
June 24, 2:00 a.m.

The Netherlands are now looking like strong favorites, while Chile has everyone watching closely after giving Spain a beating. This tie will decide the champion of Group B–and who will potentially be meeting Brazil in the next round! The audience will be the winner for sure in this all-out attack fest!

PREDICTION: 2-3. Both teams will trade till the very end, and another fairytale win for the Chileans hopefully!

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4) CAM v BRA
June 24, 4:00 a.m.

Brazil have labored a bit in group A, so hopefully a low-pressure game against already eliminated Cameroon will give them a kick start. But don’t think this is a dead rubber as the Cameroonians will be playing for pride.

PREDICTION: 3-0. Neymar to score!

5) ITA v URU
June 25 12:00 a.m.

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