Games to watch: Africa Cup of Nations semifinals, U.S. national team World Cup qualifying

Ghana vs. Cape Verde Islands 

9:50 a.m. Saturday ( 

Playing in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time ever, Cape Verde has made an upset run to the quarterfinals. Now the Blue Sharks will face a traditional powerhouse in Ghana. The Black Stars are led by forward Asamoah Gyan, who scored the goal that knocked the United States out of the 2010 World Cup. 

Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria 

9:50 a.m. Sunday ( 

This Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal is worthy of the championship game. Both teams are stacked with big names. Ivory Coast is led by Manchester City’s Yaya Touré and two-time African Player of the Year Didier Drogba. Nigeria’s squad includes Chelsea regulars John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses. 

Liverpool at Manchester City 

10:30 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel) 

Manchester City plays its first game since selling notorious striker Mario Balotelli to AC Milan. Balotelli’s time in Manchester was similar to that of Terrell Owens with the Eagles – endless controversy off the field, but immense talent on it. 

Brazil at England 

2:30 p.m. Wednesday (Fox Soccer Channel) 

Ronaldinho returns to Brazil’s roster as the five-time World Cup champions help celebrate the 150th anniversary of England’s Football Association. The legendary playmaker will join young stars Neymar and Lucas Moura in a star-studded friendly at Wembley Stadium. 

France at Germany 

2:55 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN2) 

Two traditional European powers meet at the famed Stade de France, site of the 1998 World Cup final. Even though it’s just a friendly, it’s always worth watching when these teams get together. 

United States at Honduras 

4:00 p.m. Wednesday (beIN Sport) 

The final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying begins with a massive test for the United States. Almost all of the big names – such as Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore – will be present, though Landon Donovan’s winter break continues. 

Honduras’ squad has a distinct MLS flavor. It includes Oscar Boniek García (Houston), Andy Najar (D.C. United) and Roger Espinoza (formerly with Kansas City, now with English club Wigan Athletic). 

Jamaica at Mexico 

9:00 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN2/Uni Más) 

ESPN recently signed a landmark deal to broadcast Mexican national team home games in English, including El Tri’s World Cup qualifiers this year. This will help United States do some advance scouting on upcoming CONCACAF opponents. 

Jamaica’s squad includes MLS stalwarts Omar Cummings (Colorado) and Darren Mattocks (Vancouver); Mexico is led by Manchester United star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.