Group A: MEXICO VS. URUGUAY
Where: Rustenburg. Time: 7 a.m. PDT.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Univision. Radio: Sirius/XM, KSPN-AM 710, KLYY-FM 97.5, KDLD-FM/KDLE-FM 103.1.
The buzz: A tie sends both teams on to the second round, but that's not the result Mexico will be playing for. That's because a draw would send Uruguay on to the second round as the group champion by virtue of a better goal differential leaving Mexico, as the group runner-up, to face powerful Argentina in the knockout round. But Uruguay hasn't allowed a goal in the tournament and Mexico will be without energetic striker Carlos Vela, who injured his right leg in last week's win over France. That opens a spot on the front line for Javier Hernandez, who came off the bench to score Mexico's first goal against France, though Coach Javier Aguirre could turn to Pablo Barrera, who replaced Vela when he was hurt. The Mexicans will also be without midfielder Efrain Juarez, who was suspended for two yellow cards. He could be replaced by Andres Guardado. And surprise starter Oscar Perez has been exceptional in goal, allowing just one score in two games. Uruguay is healthy with Coach Oscar Tabarez having already announced his lineup will be the same as the one used in the win over South Africa. Forwards Diego Forlan, who scored twice and set up another goal, and Luis Suarez will lead the attack.
— Kevin Baxter
Group A: FRANCE VS. SOUTH AFRICA
Where: Bloemfontein. Time: 7 a.m. PDT.
TV: ESPN 2, Telefutura. Radio: Sirius/XM, KLYY-FM 97.5, KDLD-FM/KDLE-FM 103.1.
The buzz: If there is a winner here, it would need a bucketful of goals to have a chance of advancing beyond group play — and even that won't help if Uruguay and Mexico play to a tie. So this match will mainly be for pride. The host South Africans played brilliantly in the World Cup opener, battling Mexico to a tie, and would like to give their fans a win before they become the first host country in history to be eliminated in the first round. That will be made more complicated by the fact Coach Alberto Parreira will be without goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, both of whom are suspended. The French, who suffered a meltdown over the weekend when the team refused to practice following striker Nicolas Anelka's banishment, haven't scored in the tournament and pride may be a difficult emotion for them to muster at this point. But if the French can unite, even short-handed they could make South Africa pay for their disappointing performance here.
— Kevin Baxter
Group B: SOUTH KOREA VS. NIGERIA
Where: Durban. Time: 11:30 a.m. PDT.
TV: ESPN 2, Telefutura Radio: Sirius/XM, KLYY-FM 97.5, KDLD-FM/KDLE-FM 103.1.
The buzz: Winless Nigeria can still advance, but it has to win big here and have Greece lose to Argentina by a wide margin to have a chance. But if Argentina, unchallenged in the tournament so far, does beat Greece, South Korea would need just a tie to eliminate Nigeria and reach the knockout phase for just the second time in its history. Bet on the second scenario, especially with Nigeria having to go without midfielder Sani Kaita, who received a red card for a sideline foul in his team's loss to Greece.
— Kevin Baxter
Group B: ARGENTINA VS. GREECE
Where: Polokwane. Time: 11:30 a.m. PDT.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Univision; Radio: Sirius/XM, KLYY-FM 97.5 and KDLD-FM 103.1.
The buzz: The last time Argentina played Greece in the World Cup was in 1994 when the Argentines won, 4-0, behind three goals by Gabriel Batistuta and one by Diego Maradona. Maradona is now Argentina's coach, and his team is heavily favored to win and secure its place in the last 16. Still, you have to like the optimism of Greece forward Pantelis Kapetanos. "We all know Argentina and how good they are," he said. "They have 22 fantastic players and Lionel Messi, who is one step higher in quality — the best player in the world. . . . If we stay concentrated for the entire 90 minutes, I believe the match can be won." Greece Coach Otto Rehhagel echoed the belief. "All our players must play the match of their lives and then, maybe, we have a chance," he said Monday.