It's do or die (or tie) time for the United States today in the World Cup.
The U.S. team plays its final game in group play against world No. 2-ranked Germany at noon EDT in the Brazilian seaside city of Recife. The stakes couldn't be higher, and the intrigue is all here, folks.
Two days after the sporting world reacted in shock to what appeared to be a case of one elite soccer player biting another, FIFA, the sport's governing body, announced that it's suspending Uruguayan star Luis Suarez for nine matches and fining him 100,000 Swiss francs (about $112,000).
The suspension comes two days before Uruguay faces Colombia in the round of 16 on Saturday. It begins immediately, FIFA says. Suarez is also banned from any soccer activity for four months.
Good morning, I'm David Greene. It's been a tough week for Latvian tennis player Ernests Gulbis. Yesterday, he was knocked out of competition at Wimbledon. And Monday at a press conference, he was asked about the idea of getting rid of umpires, letting players referee their own games. He gave a lengthy answer before realizing he had misheard the question.
In case you have not heard, David, it's perfect fine to take this day off work. The coach of the U.S. soccer team has published an excuse note for Americans to send their employers saying they were busy World Cup.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
But Steve, we don't know if employers will accept this. We do know the United States plays Germany. The game in Recife, Brazil helps determine who escapes the so-called Group of Death and moves on to the knockout round.
A new campaign is working to begin a national conversation on the dangers of heading the ball in youth soccer. To find out more, Melissa Block speaks with former U.S. women's soccer team player Cindy Parlowe Cone, who has grappled with post-concussion syndrome.
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Of all the Brazilian cities staging games at the World Cup, none is more exotic than Manaus. It's nestled in the heart of the Amazon jungle. You can only get there by plane or boat - an unlikely place to host soccer games. And there's something else in Manaus that's unexpected - a centuries-old theater and opera house. NPR's Russell Lewis took a break from soccer and paid a visit.
RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: The first thing you notice about the Teatro Amazonas is how lovely it is. Then the beauty melts away and it's what you hear.
From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. When the U.S. takes on Germany tomorrow in the World Cup, it will do so not only with a German coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, but also with five dual-national German-American players who introduce themselves in videos put out by U.S. soccer.
Anticipation is building for the U.S. Men's National Team's showdown with Germany on Thursday. The Americans need a win or a tie to decide their own fate; a loss would mean they need help to advance to the round of 16.
The game will start at noon ET — when the other Group G match, between Portugal and Ghana, also starts. You can follow the game or just comment on the action here at The Two-Way. For now, we've rounded up analysis and predictions.