Fans of the USA (#8) will be closely watching Group E, which also includes Italy (#12), Ghana (#50), and the Czech Republic (#2), and is considered the second toughest group in the tournament.
Musical accompaniment to the World Cup seems spotty. Columbia released a companion CD in 1998, and I think another was released in 2002, though I didn't buy or hear it. While I might find one or two tracks that float my boat, like 1998's "Rise Up" by Jamaica United, I can't really recommend these compilations based on what I've heard. They tend to comprise an assortment of international dance pop more than the kind of world music I enjoy.
While we're waiting (without bated breath) for word on a 2006 CD -- and for the actual games beginning in June -- I offer something related. This track comes from the FIFA 2006 video game soundtrack, and while Ghanaian singer Selasee is no Salif Keita, one can hope that the popularity of the game and resultant piping of this music into millions of young impressionable ears might spark some curiousity about further exploring African music. If you're interested in Selasee, you can read this article or this interview.
Monday's mp3: Selasee: "