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World Cup Diary

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Every morning throughout the World Cup, brings you a quickfire update of what's been going on in Brazil...

What happened last night?

Tim Howard's third World Cup started with a win as USA saw off Ghana in Group G.

Jurgen Klinsmann's side couldn't have wished for a better start than the 1-0 lead they gained through Clint Dempsey's strike just 32 seconds in.

For a long time, that looked as though it would be enough to see the States through as Howard and his defenders repeatedly repelled their African opponents. However, Andre Ayew levelled with eight minutes to go - only for substitute centre-half John Brooks to head home a dramatic 86th-minute clincher.

"It was a grind, but it was a wonderful win at the end of the day," said an ecstatic Klinsmann afterwards. You can read more about the game - and Howard's contribution - here.

Group G's other contest saw hotly-tipped Germany get off to a flying start as a Thomas Muller hat-trick did for Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

Defender Mats Hummels also got on the scoresheet as the three-times winners romped to a 4-0 victory - aided by a silly red card for Portugal's perplexing centre-half Pepe.

Elsewhere, the British nation rued the selection of Iran v Nigeria as the 8pm kick off, with the two teams playing out a numbingly lacklustre goalless draw in Group F. 

Who caught the eye?

Tim Howard was solid between the sticks for the US and came in for much praise for the composed manner in which he organised his nation's defence - particularly in light of losing centre-half Matt Besler to injury at half-time.

The star of the day though would have to be Muller, the Bayern Munich forward's treble ensuring Germany kept up their record of winning each of their opening World Cup games since 1990 in impressive fashion.

What’s happening today?

Kevin Mirallas will be hoping for a start when Tuesday's games kick off with Belgium v Algeria in Group H (5pm UK time).

The hosts, Brazil, are then back in action as they get the second round of group fixtures underway against Mexico in Fortaleza (8pm).

The 11pm kick off sees the final two teams make their tournament bows, with Russia and South Korea - Belgium's other group rivals - set to go head-to-head in Cuiaba.

Who should I be looking out for?

Aside from Mirallas, Belgium are likely to boast former Everton loanee Romelu Lukaku, who has shaken off an ankle injury he picked up during their final pre-tournament friendly. One-time Blue Marouane Fellaini is also likely to start.

At 8pm, all eyes will be back on tournament poster-boy Neymer when he looks to build on his opening-day double against Croatia. Hulk, however, is a doubt having sat out training on Monday because of thigh pain.

For Russia, Alan Dzagoev will be hoping to replicate his eye-catching start to Euro 2012 when he netted a brace in a 4-1 defeat of the Czech Republic.

Alexander Kokorin is another tipped to make a telling impact on the tournament, while former England boss Fabio Capello will be a familiar face in the dugout.

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