Sunday World Cup Weather Watch: Mexico-Netherlands at 9 a.m., Costa Rica-Greece at 1 p.m. on ESPN and Univision

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Finally, here’s a Greece-Costa Rica preview

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World Cup Watch: The best and worst commercial tie-ins to banned biter Luis Suarez

We’ll start with the worst, which is this YouTube video distributed by the Girl Scouts of America to media types Friday to pump up cookie sales.

That’s right, an organization that purports to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place” is exploiting a violent incident seen around the world by a racist repeat offender like Luis Suarez.

“Have you ever wondered what Girl Scout Cookies do in their off-season?” read the accompanying press release. “Girl Scout cookies are biting back and staying active in the off season with a little help from the World Cup!”

In a word: tasteless

And here’s the best, from online casino Betfair, which has a whole host of creative Suarez bets including:

What will be the nationality of the next person bitten by Luis Suarez?

  • Goes Hungry (None, he won’t bite anyone ever again.) – 1/16
  • Fish and Chips (English) – 18/1
  • Paella (Spanish) – 18/1
  • Ratatouille (French) – 20/1
  • Bitterballen (Dutch) – 25/1
  • Bratwurst (German) – 25/1
  • Haggis (Scottish) – 25/1
  • Pizza (Italian) – 25/1
  • Roast Lamb (Welsh) – 33/1
  • Taco (Mexican) – 50/1
  • Hamburger (American) – 66/1
  • Kebab (Turkish) – 66/1
  • Sushi (Japanese) – 80/1
  • Stroganoff (Russian) – 100/1
  • Chow Mein (Chinese) – 250/1
  • Vindaloo (Indian) – 500/1
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World Cup Watch: Round of 16 begins Saturday

WCrankings

After 15 consecutive days of as many as four World Cup games a day, the planet takes a breather today before the knockout round of 16 begins at 9 a.m. Saturday on ABC and Univision when Brazil faces Chile; Uruguay-Colombia follows at 1 p.m.

Chile has injury issues, while snubbed Brazilian star Kaka still believes his nation has the firepower to see off its South American neighbors.

Not surprisingly, World Cup interest is increasing in the U.S.

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Landon Donovan clams up, Bruce Arena talks World Cup

GalaxyLandon Donovan has been all over television delivering his takes on the World Cup. He refused to do so with the local media on Thursday.

“I have an obligation,” he said after finishing practice with the Galaxy, which resume MLS play Saturday against San Jose at Stanford.

That didn’t sit well. His opinion is exclusive to TV viewers for a certain network? Never mind the fact that the dozens of current and former athletes in all sports who have broadcast duties are happy to share their thoughts with anyone who asks from a different platform.

It was a completely strange juxtaposition, then, to have Galaxy coach Bruce Arena happy to opine on the United States’ standing in the World Cup. The Galaxy held off their practice until 11:30 on Thursday so they could watch the Americans face off against Germany.

And give a little leeway for Donovan’s segment of Q&A.

Arena, it should be mentioned, has time and again in the past been reticent to assess the play of the U.S., not wanting to step on the toes of his successors as the national team coach.

But he didn’t mind talking about the road of the U.S. and the tournament in general as it headed into the round of 16.

“It’s good to advance. The game wasn’t particularly good,” Arena said after Germany’s 1-0 victory. “They are playing one of the better teams in the world but that’s the way the U.S. is going to play. They’re going to grind it out, get good goalkeeping, create an odd chance every now and then but they’re a battling team, they’re a fit team, they’re an organized team.”

Arena on the next U.S. challenge:

“Belgium’s certainly a good team. It’s not a bad matchup for (the U.S.). It’s a good matchup for the U.S.”

Arena, of course, was coaching when the U.S. reached the final eight in 2002 following a landmark win over Mexico. The U.S. hasn’t been that close since, but has now advanced out of the group stage in two consecutive tournaments for the first time.

“I think it’s a sign of progress,” Arena said. “I think we need to obviously improve as a team but that’s not going to happen in this World Cup. We’re one or two World Cups away from competing with the big boys.”

And surviving the “Group of Death” with Germany, Ghana and Portugal?

“It’s good. There’s one very good team in the group in Germany,” Arena said. “The others were pretty close to each other and we managed to be the team that came out in the end. Ghana was a pretty talented team. Inconsistent, obviously, going into an important game more worried about the cash being on the plane. Very odd preparation.”

“Give the U.S. credit. They persevered in a very difficult group. I thought all along that they needed to get three points against Ghana and one point against Portugal and that’s the way it played out.”

And that means what?

“I should do (prognostication) rather than coaching,” he said with a smile. “I’m better at that I think than working with this team right now.

“Believe me, I don’t think anybody could have predicted this World Cup. At the end of the day when the dust settles, the big boys are going to be around, there aren’t going to be any Cinderellas. However, I think Costa Rica may make it to the last eight.”

Sorry, Greek fans.

And Arena on the first start for Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez:

“He did a good job.”

And Donovan would rather have talked about the Galaxy against San Jose.

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World Cup Watch: How fans in Torrance, Long Beach, Hollywood and elsewhere in SoCal celebrated at viewing parties for today’s USA-Germany game

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World Cup crunch time: The tension mounts at The Arena in Upland (Photo by Staff photographer Jennifer Cappuccio Mahr).

The scene at Clearman’s Galley in San Gabriel today during the game (Video by Keith Birmingham)

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Jolly Germans: The crowd at Alpine Village near Torrance celebrates the Germany goal in today’s game (Photo by Staff Photographer Brad Graverson).

Fans at Legends Sports bar in Long Beach celebrate the U.S. World Cup result. (Video by Sean Hiller)

Fans cheer today at Dillon’s Irish Pub in Hollywood as the U.S. goes through to the last 16 in the World Cup. (Video by John McCoy)

Read more about the Alpine Village viewing here.

Here’s how it went down in Hollywood.

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LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez comes through for USA in World Cup game against Germany

Aside from an early blip, Omar Gonzalez repaid the faith U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann had shown him by handing the Galaxy central defender his first World Cup start in the crucial game today against Germany with a solid performance when it was needed most.

It was a showing that gave the U.S. defense much-needed stability even in the narrow loss.

Read more about the performance of the Galaxy star here.

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Luis Suarez World Cup watch: Zombified!

Suarez

LuiszombifiedIt’s crunch time as Luis Suarez bites back against Italy.

The Uruguayan forward has apparently gone from the upper photo to the lower one over the course of the World Cup tournament.

Pressure will do that to you I guess  — or stupidity — given his controversial actions at the World Cup today.

Pass the brains, Luis (if you have any).

The gory details of the story are here.

Want to zombify yourself? Go here.

Here’s more on the twitter reaction to the incident:

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