World Cup Group A Snapshot: How the dynamics changed after day one

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Group A is only half-way through its first round, but after today’s result in Sao Paulo, the dynamics of the group have already changed. Thanks to their 3-1 win over Croatia, Brazil is one step closer to the securing the first place finish that would help them avoid Spain in the second round. And for Croatia, the loss means their margin for error’s grown smaller if they’re to make the knockout round.

Here’s our look at Group A after day one of the 2014 World Cup.

Brazil: Pick apart their performance all you want (heaven knows we have), but purely in terms of the standings, this is a great result. A multi-goal victory against what may prove to be their toughest Group A opposition? Unless you’re being greedy, you couldn’t scoff at that outcome. Bottom line: Positive.

Croatia: So close to a point, Croatia’s bound to be disappointed, but if the team didn’t have a plan for getting out of Group A without a result against Brazil, they may as well have stayed at home. Two wins still put the Croats through, and their goal could come in handy in tiebreaker scenarios should they draw with Cameroon or Mexico. Bottom line: Neutral, slightly negative.

Mexico: For El Tri, it was good news, bad news. The good: Brazil doesn’t seem to be clicking yet, meaning there’s a chance their sluggish form carries over into Tuesday’s showdown. The bad: If there is going to be a South American effect on European teams, it didn’t show in Croatia’s play on Thursday. Bottom line: Neutral.

Cameroon: The Indomitable Lions have the virtue of playing Brazil third, but that only becomes a benefit of the Selecao take six points through two rounds. After today’s result, the hosts are halfway there. If Brazil takes care of business against Mexico, it increases the chances they’ll rotate their squad against Cameroon. Bottom line: Neutral, slightly positive.


Brazil 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 3
Cameroon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Croatia 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

Bottom line

Brazil only solidified their standing as group favorites. Croatia and Mexico will still fight it out for second place.

Hilarious “Friends” spoof video ‘starring’ Messi, Ronaldo (video)

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Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.

[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]

At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.

Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:

Top USMNT-Mexico moments: Looking back ahead of Saturday

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of United States celebrates his goal with teammates Carlos Bocanegra #3 and Alejandro Bedoya #22  against Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.

The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.

It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.

[ MORE: Spurs’ teen shining at center back for U.S. U-23s ]

Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.

So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.

(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).

2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power

There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.

2002 — World Cup Round of 16

Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.

1934 — World Cup qualifier

Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.

2012 — First win at Azteca

It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.

1980 — World Cup qualifier

Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.