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World Cup Day 12: Chile

"Soccer continues to be the art of the unforeseeable. When you least expect it, the impossible occurs." - Maradona '86

Truer words were never spoken. Those two sentences perfectly sum up yesterday's USA-Portugal result. What a game. What a finish. What a heartbreaker. I'm a glass case of emotion right now.

"I, too, have been the glass case you speak of. Chin up, muchacho." Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

But I refuse to go all Mopey Monday on you, dear readers. All is not lost for Team 'Merica. On the contrary, few thought we would be in the position we now find ourselves—tied with Germany at the top of the group on four points apiece. We're through to the knockout round with a Ghana-Portugal tie. Or if we tie Germany Thursday. Or if we beat ze Germans Thursday. It could play out any number of ways, but the point is we're still in it. Just keep watching, and keep believing. Oh, and the USA-Germany game is at 11AM CST, so maybe call in sick? Everybody else is doing it.

"Yeah, boss? I don't think I'm going to make it in today. I've got the *cough* World Cup fever." Photo: Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Today ushers in the final round of group games. Group B wraps up first, with Chile-Netherlands facing off to determine the one seed, and Australia-Spain playing for pride (and little else). The afternoon games feature Group A, where nothing (save Cameroon's imminent return to Africa) is certain. Croatia-Mexico will be the game to watch there, with the winner likely advancing to Saturday's knockout stage. Regardless, it's going to be another great day of World Cup action! Now, let's take a look at today's featured match.

Match to Watch: Netherlands vs. Chile I almost wish I had decided to highlight the Cameroon-Brazil game, because I'm pretty confident who to pick there. This game, though…yikes. Both Chile and the Dutch have been playing dominantly, with either looking like they could make a deep run in this tournament. Who to pick between Chile's attacking style and the Oranje's trademark total football, though? It's a coin toss really, but I'll take the Dutch. My Pick: Netherlands 3, Chile 2

"Hey, y'all! It's me, Alexis!" Photo: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Player to Watch: Alexis Sanchez While he's been underused at his club team Barcelona, Sanchez is a superstar for the Chilean squad, bagging a goal and an assist so far. He's capable of moments of brilliance, combining blazing speed with deft skill on—and off— the ball. If Chile can win today and top the group, it will be because Sanchez found his mojo. Look for he and fellow Chilean Arturo Vidal to link up and produce plenty of excitement.

Match Day Dish: Pastel de Choclo (Meat and Corn Pie) (Chile) The shepherd's pie of South America's west coast set, this tasty dish is traditionally baked in individual clay dishes. Fret not–a casserole dish will suffice in a pinch. This recipe is a tad labor-intensive, but worth the toil. Bake this up, serve with some fresh veggies, and take some pictures to send in to our Instagram contest with the hashtag #CLKickingDishes for a chance to win prizes (details here). Keep being fútbol fans, and have a great match day 12! Cheers.

Pastel de Choclo (Meat and Corn Pie) Hands-On Time: 50 min. Total Time: 1 hr. 42 min.

  • 8 ears yellow corn

  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 pound 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 2 hard-cooked large eggs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
1. Remove husks from corn, and scrub silks from corn. Cut kernels from ears of corn to measure 6 cups. Place corn kernels, milk, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a blender or food processor; process until pureed. 2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add corn puree, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture is thick like oatmeal, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in basil. 3. Preheat broiler. 4. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Cool slightly; shred chicken with 2 forks. 5. Preheat oven to 375°. 6. Combine raisins and 1 cup hot water in a bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. 7. While raisins stand, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add oregano and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); sauté 1 minute. Add beef; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Sprinkle with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and broth; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. 8. Drain raisins; discard liquid. Spread beef mixture in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with shredded chicken, sliced eggs, raisins, and olives. Pour corn puree over casserole, spreading to cover filling. Bake at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes or until corn puree is lightly browned and forms a crust. Garnish with basil, if desired.