MATCHDAY PREVIEW – With Spain now out, Brazil's two main rivals for glory will both be keen to build further momentum. Germany look to be in especially fine fettle after sweeping aside Portugal 4-0 for their seventh consecutive victory in qualifying for or at the FIFA World Cup™, while Argentina got started with a 2-1 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina that owed much to a superb Lionel Messi strike.
Germany will begin as favourites against a Ghana side beaten 2-1 by USA last time out, not least since they have won their two previous meetings, 1-0 and 6-1. As for Argentina, they will be confident of their chances against Iran, who have lost three and drawn two of their last five World Cup matches, having not posted a victory since seeing off the Americans 2-1 in 1998.
Elsewhere, Bosnia and Herzegovina need to rediscover the attacking verve that made them such prolific opponents during European qualifying. Nigeria will be the team hoping to keep them quiet, though they are pursuing a first World Cup success in ten outings, their previous nine producing six losses and three defeats – the second-longest drought for an African side behind Tunisia's run of 11 winless encounters.
Argentina-Iran (Group F), Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, 13.00 (local time)
Germany- Ghana (Group G), Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, 16.00 (local time)
Nigeria-Bosnia and Herzegovina (Group F), Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba, 18.00 (local time)
Did you know?
Unenviable record: Sead Kolasinac had the misfortune of scoring the fastest own-goal in World Cup history when he put the ball into his own net after just two minutes and nine seconds of Bosnia and Herzegovina's opening fixture against Argentina. That outstripped the record of Paraguay's Carlos Gamarra, who beat his own goalkeeper two minutes and 46 seconds into a meeting with England at Germany 2006.
Scoring streak: Thanks to his hat-trick against Portugal, Thomas Muller got his name on the score-sheet for a fourth successive World Cup fixture. The Germany man thus matched the feat of compatriots Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann, although Nationalelf legends Helmut Rahn and Gerd Muller both stretched their runs to five games. The overall benchmark is six matches, set by France's Just Fontaine in 1958 and equalled by Jairzinho of Brazil in 1970.
Argentina's Javier Mascherano and Germany's Per Mertesacker are set to win their 100th caps, though both still have a long way to go to catch Iran veteran Javad Nekounam, who is in line to make his 140th international appearance.
Family ties: Even in football, history has a habit of repeating itself in fascinating ways. So it is, then, that the Boateng brothers – Kevin-Prince, 27, and Jerome, 25 – will lock horns for the second World Cup running. The siblings are used to facing each other in the Bundesliga, with Kevin-Prince turning out for Schalke and Jerome for Bayern Munich, but interest is magnified when the duo cross paths in the international realm. Kevin-Prince opted to represent Ghana and Jerome chose Germany, and although it was the younger of the two who celebrated a 1-0 victory at South Africa 2010, Kevin-Prince has vowed revenge this time around.
Treading the tightrope
Emir Spahic (BIH)
Mohammed Rabiu, Sulley Muntari (GHA)
Marcos Rojo (ARG)
Andranik Timotian (IRN)
Check it out
We touched on the story of the Boateng siblings above, and you can learn more about their different trajectories in this recent FIFA.com interview with both players. "When I play, I play to win – no matter whether I’m lining up against my own brother, my father or my mother," said Kevin-Prince.
Despite Messi's winning effort, the Argentinian press were far from convinced by La Albiceleste's narrow victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Make up your own mind about Messi's importance to the side by watching video highlights of the game and our exclusive interview with the two-time winners' captain.
On this day
Indelible World Cup memories were created on 21 June 1986 as Brazil and France came together for one of the competition's most memorable quarter-finals at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara. The sun was beating down on the players and 65,000 spectators alike as Les Bleus sought to continue their progress after ousting reigning champions Italy 2-0. Their key man Michel Platini was celebrating his birthday too, yet, like Brazil's talisman Zico, he was hampered by injury – not that the game suffered as a result. Both sides gave an attacking master class, and the European challengers needed goalkeeper Joel Bats to be in exceptional form, although not even he could stop Careca breaking the deadlock. An unmarked Platini then hit the equaliser at the back post and, despite multiple chances, the match ultimately went to penalties. Zico made up for missing a second-half spot kick, while Platini sent his attempt over the bar, but it was Platini's Carré Magique colleague Jean Fernandez who finally delivered the victorious blow.
Play and win
Whether you are a newcomer or an old hand, make sure not to miss the Panini Online Sticker Album for the 2014 World Cup! There are 424 stickers in total, which you can collect and swap online to complete your album. Already started? Try to put the finishing touches to your album by obtaining and exchanging new stickers every day. Not yet registered? There is still time! Begin your album now and attempt to finish it before 31 August 2014. And, as with every game and competition at the 2014 World Cup, you could win some fabulous prizes!