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