June 15, 2014 (CHICAGO) --It was the favorites who ruled day three of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Sixth-ranked Switzerland survived a scare to beat 26th-rated Ecuador 2-1. The game winner came during extra time. In the 93rd minute Ricardo Rodriguez, who scored the first goal for the Swiss, made a perfect pass on the wing to Haris Seferovich who banged it home with 20 seconds left, avoiding the tournament's first tie.
Midway through the afternoon, the favored French, rated 17th, took out 33rd rated Honduras 3-0 on the performance of Karem Benzema, who scored two goals. The middle marker came on an "own goal" when Benzema's shot bounced off the post, Honduran keeper Noel Valladares tried to knock it out and fumbled the attempt.
And in the third and final game of the day, at the mecca for soccer--the Maracana stadium in Rio--Argentina nipped Boznia & Herzegovina 2-1. Lionel Messi, the Argentines' superstar forward, was involved in both goals. Argentina went up 1-0 in the third minute as Messi's kick from the far side bounced in off BIH defender Sead Kolasinac. In hockey, that's Messi's goal, in futbol (soccer) it is not and they need to change that rule. Messi then scored in the 65th minute and for all intent and purposes, the game was over. Vedad Ibisevic scored in the 83rd minute and Argentina wins 2-1.
So far, through the first 11 games of the tournament my prediction record is 8-3.
Monday is a huge day for Group G. At 11 a.m. Chicago time, 2nd ranked Germany will face 4th ranked Portugal, and you do not want to miss this match. It takes place at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, which holds just under 52,000 people and was constructed in 1951. I cannot wait to see how Christiano Ronaldo fares against the great German keeper, Manuel Neuer. I'm sticking with Germany to win their opener and put the Portuguese behind the eight ball. At 2 p.m. CST, 43rd-ranked Iran will face 44th-rated Nigeria. I'm guessing this game ends in a draw.
And in the most anticipated matchup so far of the tournament for me, at 5 p.m. CST, the United States of America, rated 13th, will take on 37th-rated Ghana. Despite the disparity in ranking, this is going to be a close affair at Estadio Dos Dunes in Natal.
Who am I picking? USA, USA, USA!!! And my Yorkshire terrier, Petey, who has watched most of these matches with me, says RED WHITE AND BLUE all the way.
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Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim