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Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Week's Best in Soccer

By Scott French

ROAD TO SOUTH AFRICA: Two more tuneups before the real games begin on Friday.
Tuesday
Portugal vs. Mozambique at Johannesburg. TV: ESPN Deportes, 7:25 a.m.
Spain vs. Poland at Murcia. TV: ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 12:55 p.m.

WORLD CUP CLASSICS: The official film from the 2006 World Cup and five big matches, all to pump you up for Friday's openers. Two England-Argentina showdowns (Maradona's “Hand of God” and Beckham's red card) and the only three U.S. victories since 1950 (1994 vs. Colombia, 2002 vs. Portugal and Mexico).
Wednesday
2006 World Cup: The Grand Finale. TV: ESPN Classic, 9 a.m.
2002: United States vs. Mexico. TV: ESPN Classic, 11:30 a.m.
2002: United States vs. Portugal. TV: ESPN Classic, 1:30 p.m.
1998: England vs. Argentina. TV: ESPN Classic, 3:30 p.m.
1994: United States vs. Colombia. TV: ESPN Classic, 5:30 p.m.
1986: Argentina vs. England. TV: ESPN Classic, 7:30 p.m.

PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: If watching all that World Cup action whets your appetite to see some live soccer, there are three games in Greater L.A. on Saturday. Might we suggest Hollywood United vs. L.A. Legends at Palisades High School. Kickoff is 7.
Wednesday
Orange County Blue Star vs. Lancaster Rattlers, Concordia University (Irvine), 5 p.m.
Thursday
L.A. Legends vs. Ogden Outlaws, Salesian High School (Los Angeles), 7 p.m.
Saturday
Orange County Blue Star vs. Ogden Outlaws, Concordia University (Irvine), 5 p.m.
Southern California Seahorses vs. Lancaster Rattlers, Biola University (La Mirada), 7 p.m.
Hollywood United Hitmen vs. L.A. Legends, Palisades High School (Pacific Palisades), 7 p.m.
Monday
Lancaster Rattlers vs. Ogden Outlaws, Antelope Valley High School (Lancaster), 7 p.m.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER: A rematch of last year's MLS Cup final -- the Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah -- is the highlight of the final quartet of games before America's league heads into a 16-day World Cup break. L.A. looks to keep MLS's last unbeaten record intact. Sadly, it will be shown on a 4-hour delay.
Wednesday
Colorado at Chicago. TV: MLS Direct Kick, 5:30 p.m.
Galaxy at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. TV: FSN West, delayed, 10:30 p.m.
Thursday
Philadelphia at Kansas City. TV: MLS Direct Kick, 5 p.m.
D.C. United at Seattle. TV: ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 7 p.m.

STARS AND STRIPES: Want to know more about the U.S. World Cup team. Check this out.
Thursday
U.S. World Cup Preview. TV: ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.

2010 WORLD CUP: Not only the world's biggest sporting event -- sorry, Olympics -- but the greatest global festival, too, and it begins Friday morning with maybe Mexico's best team ever taking on South Africa, maybe the weakest host in history. The biggest game hype-wise is U.S.-England on Saturday, and don't count the homeboys out. (They tend to play better when underdogs.) But the most important matches of the first five days? Serbia-Ghana on Sunday and Ivory Coast-Portugal next Tuesday might decide who moves into the knockout phase in Groups D and G, the contenders for “Group of Death.” All the games will be replayed on ESPN Classic at more palatable hours, but real fans will be at their TV sets (or the local pub) for those 4:30 a.m. starts. Times below are game times. Most broadcasts will begin a half-hour earlier with analysis and such; the U.S.-England pregame begins an hour before gametime.
Friday
South Africa vs. Mexico at Johannesburg. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 7 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 3 p.m.; ESPN2, delayed, 11 p.m.
Uruguay vs. France at Cape Town. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 11:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 5 p.m.
Saturday
South Korea vs. Greece at Port Elizabeth. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 4:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 3 p.m.
Argentina vs. Nigeria at Johannesburg. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 7 a.m.; ESPN Classic, 5 p.m.
United States vs. England at Rustenburg. TV: ABC (KABC/Channel 7) and ESPN Deportes, 11:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 7 p.m.; ESPN2, delayed, midnight.
Sunday
Algeria vs. Slovenia at Polokwane. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 4:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 3 p.m.
Serbia vs. Ghana at Tshwane/Pretoria. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 7 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 5 p.m.
Germany vs. Australia at Durban. TV: ABC (KABC/Channel 7) and ESPN Deportes, 11:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 7 p.m.
Monday
Netherlands vs. Denmark at Johannesburg. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 4:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 3 p.m.
Japan vs. Cameroon at Mangaung/Bloemfontein. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 7 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 5 p.m.
Italy vs. Paraguay at Cape Town. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 11:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 7 p.m.
Next Tuesday
New Zealand vs. Slovakia at Rustenburg. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 4:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 3 p.m.
Ivory Coast vs. Portugal at Port Elizabeth. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 7 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 5 p.m.; ESPN2, delayed, 7 p.m.
Brazil vs. North Korea at Johannesburg. TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 11:30 a.m.; ESPN Classic, delayed, 7 p.m.

KICKOFF CONCERT: From Johannesburg, a concert -- featuring Alicia Keys, Black Eyed Peas, Shakira, Juanes, Hugh Masekela, Angelique Kidjo, John Legend, BLK JKS, Vieux Farka Toure and the Soweto Gospel Choir -- serves as an official kickoff to the World Cup.
Friday
World Cup Kickoff Concert. TV: ABC (KABC/Channel 7), 8 p.m.

WOMEN'S PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: Ajax America, the best of Southern California's clubs in the WPSL, is playing at home Saturday at noon. Hmm. What else might be going on Saturday at noon? Oh, yeah, the U.S. is playing England at 11:30. Who's the sharp schedule-maker who concocted this one?
Saturday
Ajax America vs. PS Santa Clarita Valley Rooks, Nansen Field (Rolling Hills Estates), noon
Claremont Stars vs. SD United, Claremont High School (Claremont), 7 p.m.
Sunday
PS Santa Clarita Valley Rooks vs. Claremont Stars, Canyon High School (Canyon Country), 5 p.m.

WOMEN'S PROFESSIONAL SOCCER: When Sunday's World Cup action is over, two of WPS's best face off: League-leader FC Gold Pride (from the Bay Area), which has Marta, meets the expansion Philadelphia Independence, which is tied for second.
Sunday
FC Gold Pride at Philadelphia. TV: Fox Soccer Channel, 3 p.m.

All times PDT