World Cup Day 4 Streaming, TV, Times, and Open Thread

Messi will be in action on Sunday. - Jamie Squire

Today we will see the best player of this era, and our favorite former D.C. United player. Three games total are on tap in a World Cup that is living up to all the hype early in the tournament.

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

Welcome to match day #4 in what is shaping up to be a fantastic World Cup!  You like goals?  We've got 'em.  You like upsets?  Those are on aisle D.  You need a little controversy?  In stock now.  You want a quality MLS ref showing the world how it's done?  We have that as well.  And, as a bluelight special available today for the first time in 2014, we have a former D.C. United player taking the pitch in Brazil.

Switzerland vs. Ecuador

Kickoff time: 12:00 PM EDT

Venue: Estádio Nacional de Brasília, Brasília

TV/Streaming: ABC and WatchESPN for English-language, Univision and Univision online for Spanish-language.

Cliff's notes: This is a match between the seeded team many observers thought should not be seeded (Switzerland) and a team who was the fourth team to qualify from CONMEBOL (Ecuador).  Ecuador is famous for feasting on visiting teams when they play qualifying matches in the high altitude of Quito (something FIFA under Sepp Blatter's leadership once tried to regulate against), and this game will be played at ~3,845' in Brasilia.  That may be enough altitude to affect some low landers, but it's not enough to significantly affect the Swiss.

Who should I root for? Viewers choice.  Are you a Europhile, or do you love yourself some South America?  Neither team presents a real rooting interest for or against for most USMNT fans, but a game involving the Swiss does bring to mind this little gem from Eric Wynalda during the 1994 World Cup against Switzerland.

France vs. Honduras

Kickoff time: 3:00 PM EDT

Venue: Estádio José Pinheiro Borba, Porto Alegre

TV/Streaming: ABC and WatchESPN for English-language, Univision and Univision online for Spanish-language.

Cliff's notes: France has been a finalist in two of the last four World Cups, and they didn't get out of their group in the other two.  They have tremendous talent, but the loss of Frank Ribery makes another finals appearance unlikely this time around.  The group, however, is there for the taking for the French.  Honduras is playing in their third World Cup, having finished last in their group in both 1982 and 2010.  Can Honduras be the next CONCACAF team to pull a big surprise at this World Cup?

Who should I root for? Honduras.  Two reasons: 1) Andy Najar, and 2) CONCACAF.

Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kickoff time: 6:00 PM EDT

Venue: Estadio Jornalista Mário Filho (Maracanã), Rio de Janeiro

TV/Streaming: ESPN and WatchESPN for English-language, Univision and Univision online for Spanish-language.

Cliff's notes: It seems unfair that Argentina has to take on both Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I guess that's the burden you have to carry when you have the best player of the generation.  After the Brazilian national team, perhaps no one is carrying more pressure into this tournament than Argentina and Lionel Messi.  Are they a force capable of winning the championship, or will they flame out far short of the finals as they have done so many times?  B&H is a very capable team with some star players, so this will be a tough test for Messi and Co.

Who should I root for? Many of you may have strong feelings about this, but I say pull for Argentina.  We soccer fans of today are living in a golden age of international and US soccer, fortunate to be witnessing a player in his prime who is already on the short list of the best players of all time.  But, for Messi to truly take his place alongside Pele and Maradona, he needs to lift the World Cup trophy.  I'm not pulling for Argentina to win the entire tournament, but I want to see the best player play his best on the world's biggest stage, and that begins in this game.

Enjoy the games, and use the comments section below to discuss anything World Cup or soccer related (or the Game of Thrones finale!).  Basically, say anything you want below at any time.  I, unfortunately, will be on a flight departing paradise (i.e. Hawaii) headed back to a place where the high temps are 100+.  I will be living vicariously through you, so keep the comments and tweets coming so I can track the games while traveling.  BTW, if you've never been to Hawaii, you must visit.  Don't overthink it, it's paradise.  You're welcome.

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