World Cup 2014: Updated Groups Fixtures and Schedule for All Teams

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

Spain's Andres Iniesta, right, and Netherlands' Robin van Persie, left during the World Cup final soccer match between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, July 11, 2010.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Whether your favorite team is considered a top contender or you are simply hoping to reach the knockout stage, everyone is excited for the start of the 2014 World Cup.

Things will kick off Thursday with Brazil taking on Croatia in the first game of the tournament. The hosts are one of the favorites to win a title this summer, but they will have a tough challenge from Spain, Germany and a bunch of other talented squads.

The good news for fans is that we will be able to see all of the national teams in action over the next week with the group stage finally coming to a conclusion on June 26. In that time, there will be some quality battles between elite opponents attempting to earn a spot in the next phase.

Here is a look at all of the fixtures for the group stage, with a breakdown of the best matches to watch in the coming weeks.

2014 World Cup Group Stage Fixtures
DateMatchGroupTime (ET)Venue
June 12Brazil vs. CroatiaA4 p.m.Sao Paulo
June 13Mexico vs. CameroonA12 p.m.Natal
June 13Spain vs. NetherlandsB3 p.m.Salvador
June 13Chile vs. AustraliaB6 p.m.Cuiaba
June 14Colombia vs. GreeceC12 p.m.Belo Horizonte
June 14Uruguay vs. Costa RicaD3 p.m.Fortaleza
June 14Ivory Coast vs. JapanC6 p.m.Recife
June 14England vs. ItalyD6 p.m.Manaus
June 15Switzerland vs. EcuadorE12 p.m.Brasilia
June 15France vs. HondurasE3 p.m.Porto Alegre
June 15Argentina vs. Bosnia-HerzegovinaF6 p.m.Rio De Janeiro
June 16Germany vs. PortugalG12 p.m.Salvador
June 16Iran vs. NigeriaF3 p.m.Curitiba
June 16Ghana vs. United StatesG6 p.m.Natal
June 17Belgium vs. AlgeriaH12 p.m.Belo Horizonte
June 17Brazil vs. MexicoA3 p.m.Fortaleza
June 17Russia vs. South KoreaH6 p.m.Cuiaba
June 18Australia vs. NetherlandsB12 p.m.Porto Alegre
June 18Cameroon vs. CroatiaA3 p.m.Manaus
June 18Spain vs. ChileB6 p.m.Rio De Janeiro
June 19Colombia vs. Ivory CoastC12 p.m.Brasilia
June 19Uruguay vs. EnglandD3 p.m.Sao Paulo
June 19Greece vs. JapanC6 p.m.Natal
June 20Costa Rica vs. ItalyD12 p.m.Recife
June 20Switzerland vs. FranceE3 p.m.Salvador
June 20Ecuador vs. HondurasE6 p.m.Curitiba
June 21Argentina vs. IranF12 p.m.Belo Horizonte
June 21Germany vs. GhanaG3 p.m.Fortaleza
June 21Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. NigeriaF6 p.m.Cuiaba
June 22South Korea vs. AlgeriaH12 p.m.Porto Alegre
June 22United States vs. PortugalG3 p.m.Manaus
June 22Belgium vs. RussiaH12 p.m.Rio De Janeiro
June 23Australia vs. SpainB12 p.m.Curitiba
June 23Chile vs. NetherlandsB12 p.m.Sao Paulo
June 23Brazil vs. CameroonA4 p.m.Brasilia
June 23Croatia vs. MexicoA4 p.m.Recife
June 24Italy vs. UruguayD12 p.m.Natal
June 24Costa Rica vs. EnglandD12 p.m.Belo Horizonte
June 24Japan vs. ColombiaC4 p.m.Cuiaba
June 24Greece vs. Ivory CoastC4 p.m.Fortaleza
June 25Nigeria vs. ArgentinaF12 p.m.Porto Alegre
June 25Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. IranF12 p.m.Salvador
June 25Honduras vs. SwitzerlandE4 p.m.Manaus
June 25France vs. EcuadorE4 p.m.Rio De Janeiro
June 26United States vs. GermanyG12 p.m.Recife
June 26Portugal vs. GhanaG12 p.m.Brasilia
June 26South Korea vs. BelgiumH4 p.m.Sao Paulo
June 26Algeria vs. RussiaH4 p.m.Curitiba
2014 World Cup Groups
Group AGroup BGroup CGroup D
CroatiaNetherlandsGreeceCosta Rica
MexicoChileIvory CoastEngland
Group EGroup FGroup GGroup H
HondurasNigeriaUnited StatesSouth Korea

Spain vs. Netherlands

One of the first matches of the 2014 World Cup is the same as the last match of the 2010 World Cup. Spain clinched the title four years ago when Andres Iniesta scored in extra time to beat the Netherlands in the finals.

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque explained his feelings toward the opening battle, via Alfredo Rodriguez of

It is fate that we play them again in our first match, the same as the final of the last World Cup. ... Let's see if we are capable of beating the Netherlands again; they have certainly changed since that World Cup final. I have always said that Dutch football has always been very powerful, and it will be a difficult group.

Netherlands is led by Robin van Persie, who had a down year along with the rest of Manchester United. However, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder will help lead a veteran squad capable of playing with anyone.

That being said, Spain likely has the best midfield in the world with simply incredible depth. Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Pedro and others will do their best to hold onto possession and prevent any opponent from getting legitimate opportunities on the attack.

Spain has the advantage heading into this match, but this Netherlands squad can put itself in great shape by earning a positive result in this early contest.

Germany vs. Portugal

Americans are hoping to escape Group G, but Germany and Portugal remain the class of the group, with both squads coming into the World Cup ranked in the top five of the FIFA rankings.

When you think about the Portuguese squad, one name comes to mind: Cristiano Ronaldo. The reigning Ballon d'Or winner is coming off a Champions League title with Real Madrid, something that is certain to give him even more confidence going forward.

While there are talented players elsewhere on the pitch, Germany will have to make sure it stops Ronaldo before worrying about anything else. The superstar certainly showed his ability in the qualifying two-legged play-off against Sweden when he scored each of the team's four goals to ensure a ticket to Brazil.

On the other hand, Germany has a much deeper roster full of world-class talent. It seems like everyone on the roster played for a UCL squad in some country.

The problem is injuries, as Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and others are less than 100 percent. Raphael Honigstein of ESPN FC notes that this could lead to an early exit:

Still, it will be tough for any squad to compete with Germany even with various injuries. Portugal has a chance, and it will be an important contest for the rest of Group G play.

Uruguay vs. Italy

Although England continues to have high hopes heading into the World Cup, Group D does not seem like it will be friendly to the Three Lions. According to Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports, every analyst at the company predicted Italy and Uruguay to advance, with England getting third or fourth in the group:

This means the group will likely come down to those other two teams. The good news is the match between the two should be one of the best in the tournament.

When healthy, Uruguay has one of the best attacks in the world between Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. These two players have been outstanding over the past two years for their respective clubs and have shown the ability to score on their own better than almost anyone in the sport.

On the other hand, the Italians are known for their defense, which led them to the finals of Euro 2012. Add in the scoring ability of Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo, and this squad has the chance to beat anyone.

The question is which inconsistent side can come through with its best effort in the World Cup. Based on what we have seen in the past, it would not be surprising to see either team make a run to the semifinals or lose in the group stage.

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