SATURDAY SCHEDULE (all times Eastern)
Colombia vs. Greece - Noon, ABC
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica - 3 p.m., ABC
England vs. Italy - 6 p.m., ESPN
Ivory Coast vs. Japan - 9 p.m., ESPN
Brooks Peck: Even without Radamel Falcao, Colombia have an attack to contend with Greece's defending. Unless the Greeks somehow park two buses instead of the usual one.
Los Ticos are no pushover, but Uruguay will know that beating Costa Rica will give them a vital early edge in a difficult group.
England-Italy is like a middle school dance where your parents are chaperones. Both will be too timid to make a move and the result will leave plenty to the imagination.
Christopher Sullivan: Colombia is missing a tremendous talent in Radamel Falcao, but the team has tremendous talent elsewhere and Jose Peckerman is a top international coach who will find a way to exploit Greece.
There's simply too much talent from Uruguay out of the gates against Costa Rica. It doesn't really matter whether Luis Suarez rests or not, this should be an easy win for the South Americans.
I love Italy, but it will be difficult to fill the void left by Giuseppe Rossi. Ricardo Montolivo's broken tibia hurts even worse. Can Antonio Cassano "Fantantonio" surprise everyone and carry the Azzurri? England look primed to surprise many. New, young talent with no pressure – always a dangerous anecdote.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccoroni needs to navigate though the early matches. Japan has loads of talent this time around, but Ivory Coast still holds a slight edge.
Martin Rogers: Greece is going to be outmatched as Colombia gets off to a comfortable start in a comfortable group.
In Uruguay-Costa Rica, it doesn't even matter if Luis Suarez is fit or not; Costa Rica is terrible on the road and this could be the first of three heavy beatings.
Do you think Mad Mario might be up for Italy-England? I do. But more importantly, Italy has the maestro Andrea Pirlo marshaling its midfield, and England doesn't have anyone that can stop him.
The Japanese won't be outgunned physically by Ivory Coast. Forget ignorant and outdated stereotypes – this team is big, fast, strong and determined.
Ryan Bailey: Colombia should prove too talented for this unspectacular Greece team. The Europeans will do very well to get out of group play.
Ghana may be the favorite African team, but Ivory Coast has a legitimate shot to escape the group stage for the first time. The Japanese should get on the scoresheet, but Ivory Coast will show its class.
Even though Uruguay is not as fearsome as some would have us believe, Costa Rica will be Group D’s grunt and the South Americans should record an easy win. It is lower caliber opposition like this against whom Luis Suarez often shines.
England-Italy is set to be nervy and goalless, much like the last meeting between these sides at Euro 2012. The stifling heat and humidity of Manaus will not help the pace of the game, nor its potential for frantic attacking action.