World Cup

In a tense match that saw a lot of action but no score for more than 90 minutes of play, Germany was finally victorious over Argentina to take home the 2014 World Cup title on Sunday with a 1-0 win.

In a game that at times seemed more like a rugby match or WWE bout — with head injuries, flying knees and even an eye rake — both teams displayed hardy defenses and a hungry offense.

Update at 6:08 p.m. ET

Germany steamrolled over host Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday in their semifinal game to enter the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Five of Germany's goals came in the first half.

Thomas Muller scored in the 11th minute, Toni Kroos scored in the 24th and 26th minutes, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira scored in the 23rd and 29th minutes, respectively, and Andre Schurrle in the 69th and 79th minutes.

Oscar scored Brazil's consolation goal in the 90th minute.

Today, players and fans of the U.S. and Belgium are building toward a decisive game that will send one team to the World Cup's quarterfinals and send the other packing. Two key questions are whether the U.S. can strike early, as it did against Ghana, and whether Belgium can pull away late, as it has in all its games so far in Brazil.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

With World Cup fever peaking, flag stores in Austin have been selling out of the old red, white and blue. The oldest red, white and blue, in fact – the Dutch flag, in use since 1572.

Flag stores always stock up for the Fourth of July, says Michele Kronberg, the self-described “boss-queen” of Austin Flag and Flagpole on South First Street. “It’s our busiest time of the year,” she says. “We don’t really have a Christmas season.” But exploding demand for foreign flags, driven by the World Cup, caught her off guard.

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.

Sunday's thrilling and frustrating World Cup match between the U.S. and Portugal drew an average of 24.7 million viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings company, a result that puts the game above the recent NBA finals.

The game's total U.S. viewership of 24.7 million includes ratings from both ESPN (18.2 million viewers) and the Spanish-language Univision (6.5 million); it doesn't include the 1.37 million people ESPN says streamed the game online.

The "Group of Death" is living up to its name.

Going into the third and final match of group stage, all four teams — the U.S., Germany, Ghana and Portugal — still have a mathematical chance of moving on to the round of 16.

Of course, the U.S. had a prime chance at sealing the deal last night against Portugal. But, as we told you, a last-gasp goal by Portugal scuttled those plans.

FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup, says it has zero tolerance for racist and homophobic conduct by players and fans at this year's international soccer event.

Late last week, FIFA opened an investigation into the display of neo-Nazi banners by both Russian and Croat fans at the World Cup. And Brazil and Mexico face possible sanctions for chanting a homophobic slur during their match last week. But soccer fans say the world is misinterpreting the use of the word and their team spirit.

The U.S. Men's National Team beat Ghana in the group stage of the World Cup, payback for losing to the Black Stars in the previous two World Cups.

Team USA captain Clint Dempsey surged past Ghana's John Boye to score 29 seconds after the start of the game, marking one of the fastest goals in World Cup history.

Laura Rice/KUT

The United States is taking on Ghana today in its first game of the World Cup. The two teams have only met twice before – and Ghana has won both times.

I was in Ghana earlier this year for a journalism exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. There, I met Gary Al-Smith a journalist at Citi FM  – who, though only in his 20’s, is considered his country’s foremost soccer – or football – expert.