World Cup Brazil 2014: Upcoming Warm-Up Fixtures, Live Stream and TV Info

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World Cup Brazil 2014: Upcoming Warm-Up Fixtures, Live Stream and TV Info
Harry Engels/Getty Images

Seven years after it was confirmed that Brazil was to host the 2014 World Cup, we now find ourselves on the brink of one of the most hotly anticipated major tournaments in living memory.

The recently announced squad lists make the prospect of the tournament significantly more tangible, as all 32 nations begin their preparation in earnest for the South American showpiece.

Getting their preparations right is vital for the teams involved, and the work done in the weeks leading up to the tournament will play a hugely significant role in whether a side flourishes or flops in Brazil.

Typically, a manager will try to select opponents for friendly games that are stylistically comparable to his teams group opponents, and that could give us some insight into how various sides will fare when it comes to the real deal.

Heres a full roundup of all the upcoming World Cup warm-up games and a brief preview of three of the most intriguing clashes:

World Cup 2014: Upcoming Warm-up Fixtures
Match Kick-Off Time (BST)
26 May 2014
Australia vs. South Africa 10:30 a.m.
Russia vs. Slovakia 3 p.m.
Montenegro vs. Iran 5:30 p.m.
Macedonia vs. Cameroon 6 p.m.
Belgium vs. Luxembourg 7:45 p.m.
27 May 2014
Japan vs. Cyprus 4 p.m.
France vs. Norway 8 p.m.
28 May 2014
United States vs. Azerbaijan 3 a.m.
South Korea vs. Tunisia 12 p.m.
Mexico vs. Israel 4 p.m.
Scotland vs. Nigeria 8 p.m.
29 May 2014
Cameroon vs. Paraguay 6.p.m
Honduras vs. Turkey 7 p.m.
30 May 2014
Iran vs. Angola 4 p.m.
Spain vs. Bolivia 4 p.m.
Switzerland vs. Jamaica 7:30 p.m.
England vs. Peru 8 p.m.
31 May 2014
Uruguay vs. Northern Ireland 12:30 a.m.
Bosnia vs. Ivory Coast 1:30 a.m
Chile vs. Egypt 1:30 a.m.
Croatia vs. Mali 3 p.m
Norway vs. Russia 3 p.m
Colombia vs. Senegal 4 p.m.
Algeria vs. Armenia 5 p.m.
Portugal vs. Greece 7:30 p.m.
Italy vs. Republic of Ireland 7:45 p.m.
Mexico vs. Ecuador 8 p.m.

Fixtures365.com

 

Australia vs. South Africa

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Date: 26 May 2014

Time: 10:30 a.m. BST, 5:30 a.m. ET

Live Stream: BT Sport App (UK)

TV Info: Live on BT Sport 1 (UK)

If any side in the competition could do with a perfect preparation period, it’s the Australians. Placed in Group B with holders Spain, the 2010 runners-up Holland and a vibrant Chile side, it will take a monumental effort for the Socceroos to make it into the second round.

Ange Postecoglou will take a youthful squad to the Brazil showpiece, and he has omitted some giants of the Australian game from his final 23; old heads such as Mark Schwarzer, Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill will all have to be content with watching the finals on television down under.

The average age of the squad is one of the youngest in the tournament, with a refreshing home-grown feel evident too, as documented here by Sarah Abo of SBS news:

South Africa are capable opposition—they beat Spain 1-0 back in November, per BBC Sport—and they should give this Australian team a sturdy test.

Postecoglou will be looking for a vibrant, energetic showing from his team. The Australians must fashion a cohesive and diligent defensive structure if they are to cause any problems for their Group B counterparts.

 

United States vs. Azerbaijan

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Date: 27/28 May 2014

Time: 3 a.m. BST, 10 p.m. ET

Live Stream: Watch ESPN (US), BT Sport App (UK)

TV Info: Live on ESPN2 (US), Live on BT Sport 2 (UK)

The United States men’s national soccer team will face Azerbaijan in San Francisco in the first of its three World Cup warm-up games.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s team has been handed the unenviable task of qualifying from Group G, which contains Germany, Portugal and Ghana.

Klinsmann has already spoken of the important role his side’s preparation for the tournament will play, isolating the warm-up games as an opportunity to make up some ground on its opponents, per the Major League Soccer Twitter account:

Against Azerbaijan, the USMNT will need to showcase a cutting edge that will allow it to be competitive in this World Cup. The Americans are renowned for being pragmatic and tough to beat, but whether they have the ruthless streak to trouble the more illustrious outfits remains very much in doubt.

 

France vs. Norway

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Date: 27 May 2014

Time: 10 p.m. BST, 5 p.m ET

Live Stream: BT Sport App (UK)

TV Info: Live on BT Sport 1 (UK)

In classic fashion, the French camp has been bristling with controversy during its preparations. Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps decided to leave Samir Nasri out of the squad, prompting a string of abusive tweets from the player’s girlfriend.

But instead of just letting things go and focusing on the small matter of a World Cup, the French manager has decided to take Nasri’s girlfriend, Anara Atanes, to court, per The Guardian. Talk about smooth preparation!

Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports’ claimed—in somewhat sarcastic fashion—that Deschamps decision could have pretty significant consequences going forward:

All this disruption overshadowed the announcement of a France squad that is actually pretty exciting. Deschamps has maintained a core of senior figures, but the emergence of young players such as Antoine Griezmann, Clement Grenier and most notably Paul Pogba will see this French side entertain plenty at the World Cup.

Here is the French squad in full, courtesy of FutbolBible:

It takes on Norway in Paris in the first of its three warm-up games. Deschamps will be looking to hone a sharpness from this team that could see it emerge from a relatively easy group and possibly make a late run in the tournament. 

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