What games are on this weekend?
wait, what? You don’t even want to talk about the World Cup draw, imaginary interlocutor? Fine.
Well! Let’s start with Saturday in the Premier League. The early fixture might be fun, the cold-hot-cold Newcastle visiting Old Trafford to take on the tepid Man United at 7:45 AM EST.
Then we get the usual pickings at 10:00 AM EST…the sadly regressing Southampton host the vulnerable-away-from-home Man City, and there are…the other games.
In the Bundesliga, Gladbach face Schalke at 9:30 AM EST, and then at 12:30 PM Dortmund have a chance to make up lost ground against Bayer Leverkusen.
Serie A has a neat match up too, at 2:45 PM EST, Napoli vs Udinese. And in the Eredivisie, a real potential title race scrambler with Vitesse facing PSV at 2:45 PM EST.
On Sunday in the Premier League, the early fixture will likely only be exciting for me and a few others, so you might want to wait until 11:00 AM EST and watch Arsenal vs Everton.
Then in Ligue 1, Bordeaux vs Lille could be cool at 8:00 AM EST. In Serie A there’s a real early bird special with Roma vs Fiorentina at 6:30 AM.
What’s the big story today?
Seriously? The World Cup draw, you ninny. Normally this would be the point where I direct you into the wilds of the English broadsheets, but NOT TODAY! Nope. That’s because we here at theScore have you covered on all fronts, so it’s truly one stop shopping.
We’ve made up a really nifty World Cup tracker for you to follow today that you can keep open in a tab at work if you don’t want to watch FIFA’s Dog and Pony show. It’s got team previews and profiles, formations, and other cool info.
You also have only a few more hours to play around with the Guardian’s draw simulator, so get simulating!
Finally, myself, Devang Desai and Gianluca Nesci will be at the Score HQ writing up a storm on each of the groups and the draw as it happens, and we’ll be posting a podcast later today to discuss the permutations of each group and what it means for you and your family.
Any other news?
In a lovely gesture, this weekend’s Premier League, Football League and FA Cup fixtures will feature a minute’s applause to commemorate the passing of Nelsen Mandela, who died yesterday age 95.
Ben Bloom at the Telegraph writes on why the Group of Death is the Group of F, as in, well, Group F. It’s a bit weird, but he’s used mathematical chicanery to figure it out (warning: this is total crapola):
Can you feel your heart quickening? That’s the realisation that Group F has never never NEVER produced a World Cup finalist. Not one.
And what’s that? Group E has produced either the winner or the runner-up in five out of the last eight World Cups?
The Daily Mail’s World Cup predictions are always good for a laugh. And yes, at least one picked England. Just one though.
Any fun stuff?
Yeah. Eden Hazard vs Sunderland:
Any good reads?
Yeah! A great one in fact, as Wright Thomson looks at what could be a raucous tournament in Brazil, off the pitch. Try this opening para on for size:
RIO DE JANEIRO — The journalists wait in a sidewalk restaurant, cinching tight the straps on combat helmets, screwing in filters to Israeli-made gas masks. Waiters in white jackets and black ties refill glasses and take orders, business as usual. They move easily over the cobblestones, not looking twice when a customer at one of the outdoor tables straps on body armor. A soap opera plays on a television inside the place. A block away is the famous Cinelândia, the square where Rio de Janeiro has protested for generations. A group of masked Black Bloc anarchists have gathered there, a few dozen for now. Down the alley, a group of policeman order McDonald’s ice cream to go. Their bodies heavy with the menacing accoutrement of war, they delicately eat their tiny desserts.