FIFA World Cup

World Cup Predictions 2014: Projections for All Groups After Critical Draw

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 22:  Neymar of Brazil celebrates as he scores their second goal from a free kick during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Brazil at Estadio Octavio Mangabeira (Arena Fonte Nova Salvador) on June 22, 2013 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2013

The World Cup 2014 draw is officially history, setting the stage for an epic array of group matchups set to kick off next June in Brazil.

Host nation Brazil will enter next summer's tournament as the odds-on favorite. According to Bet365.com, the Selecao are going off at 3-1 odds to win it all. Brazil's favorable draw certainly helps their chances, though, as they were able to avoid fellow heavyweights like Portugal, Italy and Holland.

As for the remaining favorites and their chances, here's a look at the eight groups ahead of June 12's opening ceremonies:

Credit: Bleacher Report

The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage, which will commence with the Round of 16 on June 28:

Credit: Bleacher Report

 

*Odds according to Bet365.com.

 

Group Predictions

Group A 

Group A
Group AWDLPtsOdds
Brazil30093/1
Croatia1114150/1
Mexico1114150/1
Cameroon0030300/1
bet365.com

Brazil were likely to be the best squad in Group A regardless of how the draw shook out. But a very favorable draw makes the host nation the clear-cut favorite in Group A next summer.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 30:  Fred of Brazil celebrates scoring his team's third goal to make the score 3-0 during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Final match between Brazil and Spain at Maracana on June 30, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Meanwhile, both Croatia and Mexico are quality teams capable of making a run to the Round of 16. The edge has to go to Croatians at the moment, though, as El Tri have struggled to find their best form of late. 

Cameroon appear to be in way over their heads and will be lucky to pick up a point.

 

Group B

Group B
Group BWDLPtsOdds
Spain21077/1
Netherlands210728/1
Chile102340/1
Australia0030500/1
bet365.com

Oddly enough, Group B features both of the 2010 World Cup finalists in Spain and Holland. Needless to say, the two heavyweights project to advance. Although Alexis Sanchez and Chile will be dangerous on South American soil, the Spanish and Dutch appear primed to advance to the knockout stage.

While Chile could surprise the favorites, Australia are poised to become the punching bag of this group.

 

Group C

Group C
Group CWDLPtsOdds
Colombia210720/1
Japan2016150/1
Greece2016200/1
Ivory Coast0121125/1
bet365.com

Colombia are the class of Group C, which features three dark horses in Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 19:  Falcao Garcia of Colombia runs with the ball during the International Friendly match between Netherlands and Colombia at Amsterdam ArenA on November 19, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Ima
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Falcao and Los Cafeteros will be mighty favorites to finish atop this group while the other three battle it out for second place. Look for the Japanese to emerge as the group's second-best squad at some point. The Asian qualifiers boast tremendous potential and have shown in recent matches against Belgium and the Netherlands that they are capable of topping the world's best. 

Remember, the Samurai Blue have reached the Round of 16 at two of the past three World Cup tournaments.

 

Group D

Group D
Group DWDLPtsOdds
Uruguay210725/1
Italy120528/1
England111433/1
Costa Rica00301500/1
bet365.com

In the case of Group D, one could argue that the D stands for "death." With Uruguay and two European powerhouses in Italy and England on board, one of the world's top teams is guaranteed to be headed home before the knockout stage.

Given La Celeste's potential and assuming Costa Rica finishes at the bottom, it's likely that the winner of Italy vs. England will be moving on with Uruguay from Group D.

 

Group E

Group E
Group EWDLPtsOdds
Switzerland2107100/1
France210716/1
Ecuador1023125/1
Honduras00301000/1
bet365.com

It's fair to say that Switzerland drew a favorable group. Although France and Ecuador are both dangerous squads, the Swiss, who concluded 2013 in strong form, are the top-ranked team in their group.

Watch for Switzerland to advance from the group stage for the first time since 2006.

With Honduras sporting 1000-1 odds, according to Bet365.com, and Ecuador lacking experience on the big stage, France is most likely to join the Swiss in the knockout stage when it's all said and done in Group E.

 

Group F

Group F
Group FWDLPtsOdds
Argentina30099/2
Bosnia-Herzegovina2016150/1
Nigeria1023200/1
Iran0030750/1
bet365.com

Much like Brazil and Colombia, Argentina will be the class of their group next summer and the heavy favorite to finish atop the table with all nine points intact. La Albiceleste will take on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran in the group stage and will be favored in every match.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of Argentina in action during the International Friendly match between Sweden and Argentina at the Friends Arena on February 6, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

While Nigeria are a threat to reach the knockout stage, Bosnia-Herzegovina possess the talent to get there so long as they bring the same intensity they brought to UEFA World Cup 2014 qualifying.

Led by star striker Edin Dzeko, the Bosnians boast a wide-open offensive attack capable of taking them deeper than most expect.

 

Group G

Group G
Group GWDLPtsOdds
Germany210711/2
Portugal210733/1
United States0121150/1
Ghana0121150/1
bet365.com

Ladies and gentlemen, the "Group of Death."

With two nations ranked inside the top five of the FIFA World Rankings, three ranked inside the top 14 and all four ranked inside the top 24, the United States will need an unthinkable performance to advance.

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 06:  USA coach Juergen Klinsmann speaks to members of the media after the Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 6, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, Brazil.  (Photo by Buda Men
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Germany have to be the favorite to win Group G. After all, Die Mannschaft have reached the quarterfinals or better at each of the past eight World Cup tournaments and boast one of the planet's most potent offensive attacks.

With Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal a tier above the U.S. and Ghana, it's likely that the Americans and Black Stars will be watching the knockout stage from home.

 

Group H

Group H
Group HWDLPtsOdds
Belgium210714/1
Russia120550/1
South Korea1114200/1
Algeria0030750/1
bet365.com

Belgium can't be dissatisfied with their draw. Russia are no slouches, but South Korea and Algeria are beatable, to say the least. 

The two European powerhouses should finish atop Group H. But the winner of Belgium vs. Russia will likely be best suited for a deep run, as they'll be able to avoid Germany in the Round of 16. Portugal would obviously be a much better draw to begin the knockout stage.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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