Predictions: Day 3
Algeria vs. Slovenia, 7:30 a.m. ET
A pair of Cinderella sides here, both having made it into the Finals via surprise win in qualifying. Well, the dream will end today for someone. The Algerians lean heavily on an aerial attack, while Slovenia wins games with defence. Watch for Algerian captain Yazid Mansouri - he's the guy scowling on the bench. He's been sidelined with, ahem, a sudden dip in form. That bodes well, doesn't it?
Prediction: Slovenia 1, Algeria 0
Serbia vs. Ghana, 10 a.m. ET
If football is generally a ballet, call this mixed martial arts. Two muscular sides, heavy on attacking vim and both featuring major stars. At this point, Ghana will be glad to stop talking about missing talisman Michael Essien, who's out with an injury. They will have Sulley Muntari back from the trainer's room - he'll lead the attack. On the Serb side, the biggest star is Man United defender Nemanja Vidic. He missed the first match four years ago, and the Netherlands took advantage. Vidic and his teammates will be hoping to start off far better here.
Prediction: Serbia 2, Ghana 1
Germany vs. Australia, 2 p.m. ET
Michael Ballack's World Cup-ending injury a month ago suddenly seems far away - it's given Jogi Low some time to tinker and this Germany is a more flowing, attack-minded and youthful group without him. One thing they might lack with Ballack's absence is snarl. Australia takes a more conservative, defensive approach under Pim Verbeek. Let's see how 21-year-old Mesut Ozil and 23-year-old Sami Khedira fare in the World Cup spotlight - in Germany's last friendly, an impressive 3-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the left-footed playmaker Ozil looked elegant, and Khedira, paired with Bastian Schweinsteiger to replace Ballack at the back of the midfield, was outstanding.
Prediction: Germany 2, Australia 1