World Cup Schedule 2014: Breaking Down Matchups You Won't Want to Miss

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2013

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - OCTOBER 15: Edinson Cavani (#21) of Uruguay celebrates a score goal during a match between Uruguay and Argentina as part of the 18th round of the South American Qualifiers for the FIFA's World Cup Brazil 2014 at Centenario Stadium Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

No, folks, it isn't too soon to start budgeting your time for June and ensuring you'll be free during some of the most intriguing matchups that the group stage has to offer.

As those ESPN commercials like to remind us: "It's not crazy. It's sports."

And this isn't just sports, it's the World Cup.

So if you already have your planner out and are preparing to schedule a few "sick days" during the World Cup, start your planning here with the full tournament schedule. There's nothing more important than a little early planning, right?


Group A
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
1June 12 at 4 p.m.Sao PauloBrazil vs. Croatia
2June 13 at noonNatalMexico vs. Cameroon
17June 17 at 3 p.m.FortalezaBrazil vs. Mexico
18June 18 at 3 p.m.ManausCameroon vs. Croatia
33June 23 at 4 p.m.BrasiliaCameroon vs. Brazil
34June 23 at 4 p.m.RecifeCroatia vs. Mexico


Group B
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
3June 13 at 3 p.m.SalvadorSpain vs. Netherlands
4June 13 at 6 p.m.CuiabaChile vs. Australia
19June 18 at 6 p.m.Rio de JaneiroSpain vs. Chile
20June 18 at noonPorto AlegreAustralia vs. Netherlands
35June 23 at noonCuritibaAustralia vs. Spain
36June 23 at noonSao PauloNetherlands vs. Chile


Without question, the trio of Spain, Chile and the Netherlands makes this one of the most intriguing groups in the entire World Cup and you won't want to miss a single match between the three.

GENK, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 16:  Arjen Robben of Netherlands celebrates the second goal with teammate Rafael van der Vaart during the International Friendly match between the Netherlands and Japan on November 16, 2013 in Genk, Belgium.  (Photo by Dennis Grom
Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

While Spain will be expected to win this group, the major battle will be between the Dutch and Chileans. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben lead a talented Holland squad, albeit one in a bit of a transitional phase to the younger talents available, while Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez headline a Chile squad that is far more talented than they're often given credit for.

And, of course, you won't want to miss the rematch of the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands. This group is going to be a lot of fun.


Group C
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
5June 14 at noonBelo HorizonteColombia vs. Greece
6June 14 at 6 p.m. RecifeIvory Coast vs. Japan
21June 19 at noonBrasiliaColombia vs. Ivory Coast
22June 19 at 6 p.m.NatalJapan vs. Greece
37June 24 at 4 p.m.CuiabaJapan vs. Colombia
38June 24 at 4 p.m.FortalezaGreece vs. Ivory Coast


Group D
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
7June 14 at 3 p.m.FortalezaUruguay vs. Costa Rica
8June 14 at 9 p.m.ManausEngland vs. Italy
23June 19 at 3 p.m.Sao PauloUruguay vs. England
24June 20 at noonRecifeCosta Rica vs. Italy
39June 24 at noonNatalItaly vs. Uruguay
40June 24 at noonBelo HorizonteCosta Rica vs. England


Few groups are more unpredictable than Group D. Uruguay are probably the slight favorites thanks to a talented attack force led by Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but they run hot and cold, and are unpredictable.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Wayne Rooney of England signals during the international friendly match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on November 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Italy are the most experienced and decorated of the bunch, but they lack a serious offensive punch when Mario Balotelli isn't on top of his game or keeping his cool. And then there is England, with just enough talent to advance out of this group and just enough of a history of disappointing to make you temper your expectations for them. 

Any one of these three teams could win this group and the games between the trio will be truly hard to predict. You won't want to miss any Group D action.


Group E
MatchDate and Time (ET)Venue Game
9June 15 at noonBrasiliaSwitzerland vs. Ecuador
10June 15 at 3 p.m.Porto AlegreFrance vs. Honduras
25June 20 at 3 p.m.SalvadorSwitzerland vs. France
26June 20 at 6 p.m.CuritibaHonduras vs. Ecuador
41June 25 at 4 p.m.ManausHonduras vs. Switzerland
42June 25 at 4 p.m.Rio de JaneiroEcuador vs. France


Group F
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
11June 15 at 6 p.m.Rio de JaneiroArgentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina
12June 16 at 3 p.m.CuritibaIran vs. Nigeria
27June 21 at noonBelo HorizonteArgentina vs. Iran
28June 21 at 6 p.m.CuiabaNigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina
43June 25 at noonPorto AlegreNigeria vs. Argentina
44June 25 at noonSalvadorBosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran


Group G
MatchDate and Time (ET)Venue Game
13June 16 at noonSalvadorGermany vs. Portugal
14June 16 at 6 p.m.NatalGhana vs. United States
29June 21 at 3 p.m.FortalezaGermany vs. Ghana
30June 22 at 3 p.m.ManausUnited States vs. Portugal
45June 26 at noonRecifeUnited States vs. Germany
46June 26 at noonBrasiliaPortugal vs. Ghana


Truly, there won't be a bad game in Group G, as both the United States and Ghana are solid teams. But the real point of excitement in this group will be the matchup between Germany and Portugal. 

The Germans are insanely deep and talented, led by Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm amongst others. They are one of the favorites to win this tournament, as their disciplined, counter-attacking style and big, strong athletes across the pitch make them truly formidable.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 19:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal runs with the ball during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off Second Leg match between Sweden and Portugal at Friends Arena on November 19, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Martin
Martin Rose/Getty Images

But Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo, who is more than capable of beating any opponent on his own. Joao Moutinho is a boss in the midfield and Nani has just enough potential brilliance in him to give opponents reason for pause. 

Like Germany, Portugal are solid defensively and make you work to move the ball through the midfield. Their problem, of course, has traditionally been finding someone other than Ronaldo to score goals. But when CR7 gets going, it doesn't really matter.

Can Ronaldo take down the mighty Germans? Oh man, it's going to be fun to find out.


Group H
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
15June 17 at noonBelo HorizonteBelgium vs. Algeria
16June 17 at 6 p.m.CuiabaRussia vs. Korea Republic
31June 22 at 6 p.m.Rio de JaneiroBelgium vs. Russia
32June 22 at noonPorto AlegreKorea Republic vs. Algeria
47June 26 at 4 p.m.Sao PauloKorea Republic vs. Belgium
48June 26 at 4 p.m.CuritibaAlgeria vs. Russia


Round of 16
MatchDate and Time (ET)Venue Game
49June 28 at noonBelo Horizonte1A vs. 2B
50June 28 at 4 p.m.Rio de Janeiro1C vs. 2D
51June 29 at noonFortaleza1B vs. 2A
52June 29 at 4 p.m.Recife1D vs. 2C
53June 30 at noonBrasilia1E vs. 2F
54June 30 at 4 p.m.Porto Alegre1G vs. 2H
55July 1 at noonSao Paulo1F vs. 2E
56July 1 at 4 p.m.Salvador1H vs. 2G


MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
57July 4 at 4 p.m.FortalezaW49 vs. W50
58July 4 at noonRio de JaneiroW53 vs. W54
59July 5 at 4 p.m.SalvadorW51 vs. W52
60July 5 at noonBrasiliaW55 vs. W56


Semifinals and Final
MatchDate and Time (ET)VenueGame
61July 8 at 4 p.m.Belo HorizonteW57 vs. W58
62July 9 at 4 p.m.Sao PauloW59 vs. W60
64July 13 at 3 p.m.Rio de JaneiroW61 vs. W62


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