The run-up to the world’s most popular sporting event is officially under way. The teams have been finalised and the group stage draw has come out. And with that rise the speculations, the permutations and combinations of the teams we might see in the knock-outs. Different teams and fans evaluate their chances at taking home the most prestigious trophy in football. So which teams have gotten a favourable draw, and who has got the odds stacked against them? Here’s the deal.
The draw for the group stages of the World Cup 2014 took place in Salvador. The process was conducted by Secretary General of FIFA Jérôme Valcke. He was assisted by representatives of the eight World Cup winning countries – Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Alcides Ghiggia, Fernando Hierro, Sir Geoff Hurst, Mario Kempes, Lothar Matthaus and Zinedine Zidane.
The 32 teams were drawn into 8 groups as:
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic
The “Group of Death”
United States would be feeling hard done by, after the draw. Having to face giants and World Cup favourites Germany as well as formidable opponents in Portugal and Ghana, US have their work cut out for getting to the knock-outs. With the toughest competition for the two knock-out spots, this Group G promises to be the proverbial “Group of Death” in the World Cup. Germany v/s Portugal on 17th June will be the pick of the lot, which will also be the 100th World Cup game for the Germans – the first team to reach the 100 mark.
The World Cup Debutant
European outfit Bosnia- Herzegovina are the new entrants for this edition of the World Cup, featuring in the tournament for the first time. The draw has been fairly decent for the debutants, except for the prospect of facing Lionel Messi and Argentina. Iran and Nigeria make up the other two competitors.
A second Group of Death?
The Group D in the World Cup also has a quite a few match-ups to watch out for. Uruguay, Italy and England all face-off in the group stage, with one of these heavy-weights sure to fall out of the tournament before the knockouts.
The World Cup this time has a whole lot of contenders for the title. With lots of quality on display, it is really difficult to pick out a single team that stands out as clear favourites. Hosts Brazil are sure to fancy their chances of triumphing on home soil, and look really strong on paper. Moreover, Germany and reigning champions Spain are also real favourites for lifting the trophy, with several other sides also fancying their chances. That’s the beauty of football – you just never know.
Starting 12th June 2014, the premier football tournament will run for just over a month with the final to be played out on 13th July in Rio de Janeiro. The World Cup, consisting of 64 games, will kick off with its first contest played in Sao Paulo by hosts Brazil and Croatia. 32 Days later, the world will have one team that will push past 31 others to lay claim to being the best side in the world. Which one will that be is anyone’s guess.