Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

5 things: What to watch for Sunday at the World Cup

By Ralph Ellis and Susanna Capelouto, CNN
June 22, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. has big match against motivated Portugal
  • All eyes will be on star Portugal player Ronaldo
  • Will Beckerman be able to do a thing with his hair?

(CNN) -- The soccer bars in the United States will be jammed on Sunday. The U.S. team will play its second game of the World Cup, following a big win last Monday. Here's what to look for today from Brazil:

1. The U.S. team faces Portugal as Ronaldo returns

The United States has been, to many, one of the surprise teams of the World Cup, having pulled off a 2-1 win against Ghana last Monday.

The Americans face Portugal at 6 p.m. ET Sunday and are virtually certain to advance to the round of 16 with a win.

But Cristiano Ronaldo, not only Portugal's best player but one of the best in the world, says he'll play despite a lingering left knee injury.

Bedoya: U.S. ready for Portugal
Germany's Mario Gotze scores the goal that would decide the World Cup final Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze, a late substitute, scored the goal in extra time as Germany won 1-0. Click through the gallery to see all the goals scored in the World Cup. Germany's Mario Gotze scores the goal that would decide the World Cup final Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze, a late substitute, scored the goal in extra time as Germany won 1-0. Click through the gallery to see all the goals scored in the World Cup.
Goooal! Keeping score at the World Cup
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Every goal from the World Cup Photos: Every goal from the World Cup

That adds drama to the game and makes the United States' task much more difficult.

2. Who is Ronaldo?

He's strong.

He's a fast runner.

He's the best in the world with the ball.

His feet can strike left- or right-footed.

He dominates in the air.

He has skills never seen before.

That's the list of attributes U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard ascribes to Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

All eyes will be on the star player, who injured his left knee in his World Cup opening game against Germany in which Portugal endured a stunning 0-4 loss.

The U.S. team says it doesn't have a special strategy to keep Ronaldo in check. "Portugal is not only one player," said U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones. "They have a lot of good players."

3. Watch the hair and humidity

The U.S.-Portugal match takes place in Manaus, a humid place in the jungle. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann isn't too worried about the muggy climate.

"When you go through Florida and you play in Miami, it's very similar of what you're experiencing here," he told reporters at a press conference Saturday that also featured Tim Howard.

One reporter asked Howard what he thought the heat and humidity would do to teammate Kyle Beckerman's full head of dreadlocks. Howard said, "He's had that hairstyle for quite a while. He plays in the MLS, so he knows what humidity is like in the summer. I don't think it'll be a factor."

The reporter said he was doing a story about hair at the World Cup.

4. Belgium vs. Russia

Belgium hopes it will make a move toward the knockout stages if it can defeat Russia on Sunday. The teams meet at noon ET.

In its last game, Belgium sneaked past Algeria with two goals in the last 20 minutes to win 2-1. Russia played to a 1-1 draw with South Korea.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev will be feeling the pressure. On Monday, he let a South Korean kick slip through his fingers, costing his team a chance for victory.

5. South Korea vs. Algeria

South Korea, the bronze medal winner at the 2012 Olympics, is favored to win this game, which starts at 3 p.m. ET.

Algeria doesn't have a powerful offense. In fact, the Algerians scored their first World Cup goal in 28 years in the game against Belgium.

South Korea looked lethargic against Russia, but should be able to raise their energy level.

READ MORE: Late Lionel Messi magic sinks Iran

READ MORE: Germany's Klose equals scoring record

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Keep track of the social buzz at Brazil 2014 with CNN's Facebook Pulse -- find out who the world is talking about.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
It needed 120 minutes to separate the best two teams on the planet, but Mario Gotze's sublime strike gives Germany a fourth World Cup title.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
After 64 games, some huge shocks and 171 goals scored, now it's time to play fantasy football -- who would you pick in a World Cup dream team?
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1055 GMT (1855 HKT)
Germany won the World Cup, but these stats suggest that the host nation came top of the table at Brazil 2014 -- despite a crushing semifinal defeat.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
Bare bellies, an on-pitch streaker, world leaders and superstar selfies -- the World Cup final had it all.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Having crushed home hopes of success, Germany prevents Brazil's worst nightmare by beating the World Cup host's South American rival in final.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
One of the joys of watching the World Cup is seeing relative unknowns come to the fore. Here are 11 players to watch at Russia 2018.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
Stay informed with results of the latest World Cup matches and the full schedule for the month-long tournament in Brazil.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
In the sight of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer, the man who would be king awaits his destiny.
July 12, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Germany's semifinal demolition of World Cup host Brazil in Belo Horizonte is the game that seemingly everyone can't stop talking about.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
One of the joys of the World Cup is seeing relative unknowns come to the fore. Here are 11 players who have made their mark at Brazil 2014:
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
You thought Brazil's home humiliation was bad? Check out the greatest shocks in World Cup history...
ADVERTISEMENT