Games to Watch: U.S. national team, Big East tournament, World Cup playoffs

Portugal vs. Sweden

2:40 p.m. Friday (ESPN Deportes,
2:30 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes,

The biggest matchup in the European World Cup playoffs features two of international soccer’s true superstars. Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are the favorites, but they have a history of cracking under pressure. If Zlatan Ibrahimović and Sweden can get a decent result in Lisbon, they’ll come home for the second leg with a chance to pull off the upset.

United States at Scotland

2:55 p.m. Friday (ESPN2, UniMás)

The U.S. men’s national team finishes its year with a two-game trip to Europe. Star attackers Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are out injured, so the spotlight will shine on striker Jozy Altidore. He’s had a tough debut season at Sunderland in the English Premier League, but has a team-high eight goals for the national team this year.

Georgetown vs. Providence

6:00 p.m. Friday (

College soccer doesn’t get much time in the local spotlight, but it will this weekend. The Big East tournament semifinals come to PPL Park, with Georgetown star Steve Neumann as the main attraction. A native of New Hope, Neumann led the Hoyas to last year’s national championship game. Now he’s one of the top prospects in the upcoming Major League Soccer draft, which will be held January 15 here in Philadelphia.

Neumann could have another homecoming next month, as the NCAA tournament semifinals and title game will take place at PPL Park on December 13 and 15.

As for this weekend, Marquette and Butler will follow Georgetown and Providence at 8:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed for free on the Big East’s website.

The winners will meet Sunday at 12:30 p.m., with Fox Sports 2 broadcasting the game nationally. If you want to watch in person, tickets can be purchased here or at the PPL Park box office. Parking is free in all official stadium lots.

Burkina Faso at Algeria

1:00 p.m. Tuesday (beIN Sport)

This matchup is likely to be the most dramatic of the final five African World Cup qualifying games. After a 3-2 loss at Burkina Faso, Algeria needs a home win to qualify for its second straight World Cup. The Foxes are led by Sporting Lisbon’s Islam Slimani, who has scored five goals in this qualifying campaign. The Stallions of Burkina Faso are led by Chelsea’s Bertrand Traoré and Lyon’s Bakary Koné.

United States at Austria

2:45 p.m. Tuesday (NBCSN, UniMás)

Jurgen Klinsmann’s crew travels to the land of Mozart for its final game of 2013. It will be a homecoming of sorts for American striker Terrence Boyd, who plays his club soccer at Rapid Vienna. A good performance in this game could see him rise on the depth chart for next year’s World Cup. Austria’s squad will be led by Bayern Munich’s David Alaba and Stoke City’s Marko Arnautović.