Turkish fans can rejoice. The host country defeated Group C favorite Greece in front of a packed house in Istanbul. Turkey is now in the driver's seat to win the group. But like the US team, I took the day off. I have nothing to tell you about today’s action other than the fact that two thirds of today’s games were decided by 8 points or less. Well, after you check the ESPN box scores, and peruse the standings, let’s look at Wednesday’s games:
Lithuania (3-0) and France (3-0) meet with first place in Group D on the line. Both teams upset group favorite Spain, and now one of them will clinch first place with a win. Elsewhere, Spain (1-2) faces Lebanon (1-2) and the reality that they might not make it to the knockout round if they don’t pull things together fast. And Canada (0-3) must beat New Zealand (1-2) and hope for some tie-breakers if Canada is going to make it to the knockout round.
Brazil (2-1) faces Slovenia (2-1) with second place on the line. Iran and Croatia are tied for the final knockout round spot, but Iran (1-2) faces the US (3-0) while Croatia (1-2) faces Tunisia (0-3). In other words, it looks like Croatia is advancing to the knockout round.
Assuming Germany (1-2) holds off Angola (1-2) tomorrow, the top four should be set here too. Australia (2-1) can now rise up to second in the group if they knock off Serbia (2-1) Wednesday. Argentina (3-0) meets Jordan (0-3) in a game that sounds extremely boring on paper.
Here’s where things get interesting. Puerto Rico (1-2) faces Turkey (3-0) and you wonder if the host country might have a let down after beating Mediterranean border rival Greece. A Puerto Rico win almost certainly lifts them to the knockout round since Puerto Rico still faces Ivory Coast on Thursday. And poor Ivory Coast (0-3), I can’t imagine they’ll have fun against an angry Greece (2-1). But the key game is clearly China (1-2) against Russia (2-1). If China wins, the tie-breakers for the knockout round will come into play.