Your daily World Cup tip sheet for who’s playing when, and what to watch for. We'll deliver a new briefing the evening before every game day, highlighting the can't-miss match and which players to watch.
Match of the day: England vs. Italy
The first Saturday night of the tournament is headlined by clash between the Three Lions and the Azzurri. English manager Roy Hodgson brings a mix of youth and experience to Brazil, with mainstays like Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and recently departed Chelsea legend Frank Lampard joining forces with emerging talents like Ross Barkley (Everton), Adam Lallana (Southampton) and Raheem Sterling (Liverpool). Stat you’re likely to hear every time England plays: the country has but a single World Cup title, won on home soil in 1966. The Italians are the favourites in Group D, looking to bounce back from a first-round exit at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Manager Cesare Prandelli will count on veterans like defender Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) and midfielders Daniele De Rossi (Roma) and Andrea Pirlo (Juventus). Unpredictable striker Mario Balotelli (AC Milan) has the physical tools to be a force of nature.
Player to watch: England’s Wayne Rooney
The Manchester United striker is considered the finest English soccer player of his generation, but has scored a grand total of zero World Cup goals in his career. That will have to change if England has any hope of getting out of Group D. At 28 and coming off a mediocre Premier League season, he’s under immense pressure to finally deliver on the sport’s biggest stage.
Your World Cup
Are you watching today’s matches? We want to see which country has the most passionate fans. Tweet us a pic, or share it on Facebook or Instagram, with #globeWC.
Graphic by Trish McAlaster