Play It Forward: July 7-13 on your sports calendar

Two men pose for a photo with a cutout of Brazilian striker Neymar, on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday. Still coping with the loss of its biggest star, Brazil is trying to find ways to remain upbeat about its prospects at the World Cup. The medical helicopter that took Neymar home with a back injury also carried away much of the country's hopes for a sixth world title, but the tournament isn't over yet and Brazil is just days away from a difficult semifinal against Germany. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Two men pose for a photo with a cutout of Brazilian striker Neymar, on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday. Still coping with the loss of its biggest star, Brazil is trying to find ways to remain upbeat about its prospects at the World Cup. The medical helicopter that took Neymar home with a back injury also carried away much of the country’s hopes for a sixth world title, but the tournament isn’t over yet and Brazil is just days away from a difficult semifinal against Germany. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
FIFA WORLD CUP:
Final: At Rio De Janeiro, Sunday at noon, Channel 7
What kind of heck is going to break loose if host country Brazil meets up with rival Argentina in an all-South American final for Match 64 of this month-long carnival ride? They’ve faced each other more than 100 times since first squaring off for the first time 100 years ago. Argentina hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1990 when Diego Maradona was the big kicker wearing No. 10. Brazil, with Pele’s presence in its midst, is nearly assumed to make it all the way to the final. “Argentina and Brazil consider each other as the cream of South American football and that fuels huge sporting rivalry,” Raul Bernal-Mezza, professor of international relations at Buenos Aires University, told the Malay Mail, Malaysia’s English-language media organization. “All Argentinians want Brazil to lose and all Brazilians want Argentina to lose.” The two soccer giants may have seven World Cup titles between them – Brazil won it in 1958, ’62, ’70, ’94 and 2002, while Argentina has ’78 and ’86 – they’ve never reached the semifinals in the same World Cup before this.  “To win the final with Brazil at the Maracanã is something like the ultimate dream for any Argentine fan,” said Ezequiel Fernández Moores, one of Argentina’s best-known sportswriters, in an interview with the Washington Post. “It would trump all World Cups and be an eternal postcard image.” Added Newton César de Oliveira Santos, author of the 2009 book “Brazil-Argentina: Stories of the World’s Greatest Football Rivalry,” when asked by the Post: “The Argentines would love to play football as fancy as the Brazilians, and the Brazilians would love to play with the drive and will that the Argentines have. The rivalry exists, but it hides a big admiration that each has of the other.”|
The semifinals:
At Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Germany vs. Brazil, Tuesday at 1 p.m., ESPN
At Sao Paolo, Brazil: Argentina vs. Netherlands, Wednesday at 1 p.m., ESPN
The third place game: Saturday at 1 p.m., ESPN

Also this week:

Clayton Kershaw works against the Colorado Rockies in a July 4 game in Denver, where he pitched eight scoreless innings. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Clayton Kershaw works against the Colorado Rockies in a July 4 game in Denver, where he pitched eight scoreless innings. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Clayton Kershaw has 36 innings down and 24 to go to pass Orel Hershiser for the MLB record of consecutive scoreless innings, and the streak is on the line when Kershaw faces San Diego in the first of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday (7:10 p.m., SportsNet L.A.). This is after the Dodgers stop in Detroit to play two against the Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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