The 2014 World Cup draw is nearly upon us. Dec. 6 is the date each of the tournament's 32 teams will have their fate revealed, after which they will know the task ahead at next summer's Brazilian festival.
Here's all the draw details you need to know, including live stream and television information. To round it off, we've also taken a look at the tournament favourites, dark horses and long shots for success.
Where: Costa do Sauipe Resort, Mata de Sao Joao, Bahia, Brazil
When: Dec. 6, 2013, 4:00 p.m. GMT/11:00 a.m. ET
|TV Channel||Livestream||Start Time|
|BBC 2 HD||BBC.co.uk||4:30 p.m. GMT/11:30 a.m. ET|
|Sky Sports News HD||SkyGo||4:00 p.m. GMT/11:00 a.m. ET|
|ESPN 2||ESPN3||4:00 p.m. GMT/11:00 a.m. ET|
Alternatively, BT Sport 1 has a World Cup Draw show starting at 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET, which can also be viewed live on the BT Sport app.
The Final 32
Made up of the top seeds (and hosts), the favourites of Pot 1 will be drawn first.
One team from Pot 2 will then be added to each group, introducing the competition's African and South American contingent. An additional European team will eventually be added to this pot, and the creation of mystery "Pot X" will be used—the basic aim of which is to prevent three UEFA sides being drawn in the same group.
Telegraph Sport added some sort of light-hearted clarification to an unnecessarily complex process:
World Cup draw: Let pot "x" be (S. American team) + (mystery European team) then divide by empty pot 2 spot. Erm... we'll get back to you— Telegraph Sport (@TelegraphSport) December 3, 2013
Pot 3 is less complicated and comprised of teams solely from Asia and North America. They will be drawn third on Friday.
Pot 4 is reserved for the European teams who didn't manage to capture a top seed, including England. Of the nine, one will be placed into Pot 2 and drawn alongside a South American side to ensure UEFA sides don't get stacked in the same group.
Teams to Watch
Brazil's memorable win during the 2013 Confederations Cup served as a useful warm-up for the host nation. Although local protests grabbed headlines off the pitch, Luiz Felipe Scolari's men performed with style, vigour and extreme class during the tournament, as highlighted in the comfortable final win over current world champions Spain.
This pair are likely to do battle for football's grandest prize, but it's extremely difficult to look beyond the Samba Boys on their own turf.
Spain's old heads—the likes of Carles Puyol and Xavi—have begun to slow down and are unlikely to maintain pace with a Brazilian attack that flaunts Neymar, Hulk and the ridiculous finishing skills of Fred.
Germany should also be considered among the favourites and will pose a significant test to either of the aforementioned nations. Joachim Low has an extensive pool of talent to choose from, with even his youngest stars—names including Mario Gotze, Julian Draxler and Ilkay Gundogan—established at the pinnacle of European football.
South American teams typically do well in South American tournaments, so it's no surprise to consider Colombia a dark horse for the tournament.
Jose Pekerman's exciting side is brimming with talent, including the likes of Radamel Falcao, Jackson Martinez and James Rodriguez, a trio that has helped the national setup advance considerably across the last couple of years.
Which team should be considered the ultimate "Dark Horse" for FIFA World Cup 2014?
Colombia recently overcame Belgium during an away trip to Europe, with goals from Falcao and Victor Ibarbo sealing the result. This friendly should be considered the "Battle of the Dark Horses," as if you're not plumping for the Colombians, the Red Devils shouldn't be far behind in your thinking.
Similar to their South American counterparts, Belgium have catapulted themselves to the forefront of international football with a generation of world-class stars, including Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Vincent Kompany. Their squad is packed with powerful, versatile players and should compete with the favourites, although adapting to heated conditions will be hard for any European side.
Optimistic punters may even fancy a bet on Chile, who have shown in recent matches against Colombia, England and Brazil that they can mix it with the best.
Two teams who should be closer to winning the World Cup than they are include England and France. Both have talented players, both can beat anybody on the planet and both continually disappoint with underwhelming performances.
Which of these teams will win the tournament in Brazil?
While France do not possess the talent of 1998's World Cup victors, individuals such as Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema will be huge to their progress through the tournament.
Les Bleus' camp always threatens to implode, especially if Patrice Evra is around, so Didier Deschamps' men must focus on playing football if they are to make the country proud.
For Roy Hodgson's England, the Brazilian trip is unlikely to yield anything other than disappointment and pressure from the British press.
Tactically inferior to many opponents and without a definitive style, the Three Lions' individual stars—players such as Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and the emerging Andros Townsend—have a huge task on their hands to compete.