Italy has been as unspectacular as reigning champions go, so far, which means anything less than a win here will leave its place in the table at the mercy of events in Polokwane, where Paraguay takes on New Zealand. Still, at least the opposition is only Slovakia, which was picked apart by Paraguay with the casual indifference of a tiger pawing over the bones of a still-twitching antelope. If Italy is finally going to get its groove on, it couldn't have hoped for a better chance.
The game kicks off at 10 a.m. ET, so join me shortly before that for team news, predictions and your chance to establish the theme for the day's banter: email firstname.lastname@example.org.