World Cup Schedule 2014: Full List of Dates and Picks for Group Stage

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2014

L'VIV, UKRAINE - JUNE 09: Mesut Ozil of Germany breaks past Raul Meireles of Portugal during the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Lviv on June 9, 2012 in L'viv, Ukraine.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

There are 21 days before the first group match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off. That's when host nation Brazil begin their bid to capture a sixth World Cup trophy.

But Brazil won't be the only fancied nation hoping to meet expectations and ascend to the summit of their respective groups. Nations such as Argentina, Spain, Germany and Italy will be under pressure to meet that minimum requirement.

Here's a reminder of how each group looks ahead of the big tournament:

Bleacher Report

With the tournament fast approaching and anticipation building, here is a breakdown of every group, including the date for each game, the predicted winners and a projection of the final standings.

 

How the Groups Will Play out

Group A Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 12Brazil vs. CroatiaDrawBrazil
June 13Mexico vs. CameroonMexicoCroatia
June 17Brazil vs. MexicoBrazilMexico
June 18Cameroon vs. CroatiaCroatiaCameroon
June 23Cameroon vs. BrazilBrazil
June 23Croatia vs. MexicoDraw
FIFA.com

Group A will be tougher than many expect for favorites Brazil. Croatia will pose more than a few problems, thanks to a deceptively talented squad, brimming with creativity in midfield and power up front.

Part of their threat in the middle will come from Luka Modric. Writing for USA Today Sports blog thebiglead.com, Mike Cardillo correctly dubs Modric "one of the world's most complete midfielders."

But despite Croatia's quality, a nervy Brazil will eventually outlast the competition. They will notably brush aside Cameroon, who will sadly play the role of group whipping boys.

 

Group B Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 13Spain vs. NethelandsSpainSpain
June 13Chile vs. AustraliaChileNetherlands
June 18Spain vs. ChileSpainChile
June 18Australia vs. NetherlandsNetherlandsAustralia
June 23Australia vs. SpainSpain
June 23Netherlands vs. ChileNetherlands
FIFA.com

Group B will belong to current World Cup holders, Spain. Not as fancied as in previous tournaments, Vicente del Bosque's squad will send out an emphatic early reminder of their ample quality.

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque knows he still has one of the best squads at the World Cup
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque knows he still has one of the best squads at the World CupBuda Mendes/Getty Images

The Netherlands won't wow their fans immediately but will steadily build up to some stylish football. Meanwhile, Chile will suffer from being placed in the same group as a pair of international heavyweights.

 

Group C Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 14Colombia vs. GreeceColombiaColombia
June 14Ivory Coast vs. JapanDrawIvory Coast
June 19Colombia vs. Ivory CoastDrawJapan
June 19Japan vs. GreeceDrawGreece
June 24Japan vs. ColombiaColombia
June 24Greece vs. Ivory CoastIvory Coast
FIFA.com

Group C will be defined by its stalemates. There isn't much to separate the squads after Colombia, who should be group leaders by virtue of their firepower up front.

Japan and Greece will be plucky but won't match the quality of an Ivory Coast squad, featuring English Premier League stars like Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony.

 

Group D Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 14Uruguay vs. Costa RicaUruguayUruguay
June 14England vs. ItalyDrawItaly
June 19Uruguay vs. EnglandUruguayEngland
June 20Italy vs. Costa RicaItalyCosta Rica
June 24Italy vs. UruguayDraw
June 24Costa Rica vs. EnglandEngland
FIFA.com

Group D will belong to an impressive Uruguay team that will let star striker Edinson Cavani run riot. BBC Sport South American football writer Tim Vickery highlights how the attack will need to carry Uruguay in Brazil:

The defensive unit and the holding midfielders have been together since the Copa America of 2007. There are some ageing limbs in there, owned by players now too slow to be caught in open space.

This, though, does not apply to the front pair. If Diego Forlan has declined to the point where he is now an option on the bench, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are bang in the middle of their footballing prime.

But as good as they will be, the South Americans will need some luck to get past a resilient, but limited England squad.

Italy will follow a time-honored pattern of doing just enough to navigate the group stages, while saving their best for the later rounds.

 

Group E Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 15Switzerland vs. EcuadorSwitzerlandFrance
June 15France vs. HondurasFranceSwitzerland
June 20Switzerland vs. FranceDrawHonduras
June 20Honduras vs. EcuadorDrawEcuador
June 25Honduras vs. SwitzerlandDraw
June 25Ecuador vs. FranceFrance
FIFA.com

This group will be the home of a few surprise packages. Players such as France schemer Clement Grenier will raise a few eyebrows, as will Switzerland striker Josip Drmic.

Ultimately, those nations will be too strong for Ecuador and a game Honduras squad. France will have just enough to see off Switzerland in the group's marquee tie.

 

Group F Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 15Argentina vs. Bosnia And HerzegovinaArgentinaArgentina
June 16Iran vs. NigeriaNigeriaNigeria
June 21Argentina vs. IranArgentinaBosnia And Herzegovina
June 21Nigeria vs. Bosnia And HerzegovinaDrawIran
June 25Nigeria vs. ArgentinaArgentina
June 25Bosnia And Herzegovina vs. IranDraw
FIFA.com

Perhaps predictably, Argentina will dominate Group F. The South American nation just has too much talent in attack.

Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nigeria simply won't be able to corral Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. Argentina have flattered to deceive in recent tournaments, but while a comfortable group won't necessarily change that, it will help build momentum before the knockout phase.

 

Group G Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 16Germany vs. PortugalGermanyGermany
June 16Ghana vs. United StatesGhanaPortugal
June 21Germany vs. GhanaGermanyGhana
June 22United States vs. PortugalPortugalUnited States
June 26United States vs. GermanyGermany
June 26Portugal vs. GhanaDraw
FIFA.com

Germany will roar in front early in the so-called "Group of Death." Despite tough opposition, the Germans still have enough quality in midfield and attack to overwhelm.

Players such as Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus and Thomas Mueller will punish any defensive lapses. Being able to also call on midfielders as talented as Toni Kroos and Julian Draxler is a boost most squads can only dream of.

Young star Julian Draxler represents the excellent depth of the Germany squad.
Young star Julian Draxler represents the excellent depth of the Germany squad.Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Portugal will edge Ghana on tiebreakers, while the United States will suffer from deterioration among former key stars like Landon Donovan.

 

Group H Full Schedule, Picks and Final Standings
DateMatchWinnerFinal Standings
June 17Belgium vs. AlgeriaBelgiumBelgium
June 17Russia vs. Korea RepublicRussiaRussia
June 22Belgium vs. RussiaDrawKorea Republic
June 22Korea Republic vs. AlgeriaKorea RepublicAlgeria
June 26Korea Republic vs. BelgiumBelgium
June 26Algeria vs. RussiaRussia
FIFA.com

Belgium won't quite be the force they are considered in many circles. Many of their players have name recognition without the actual talent to match it: centre-backs Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen are prime examples.

However, the Belgians will still have enough to just shave the group lead ahead of an exciting Russia squad. The Russians will offer plenty in attack but suffer from a fragility in defence.