World Cup Bracket 2014: Favorites, Projections, Fixtures and More

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World Cup Bracket 2014: Favorites, Projections, Fixtures and More
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The 2014 World Cup is about to begin in Brazil. Over the next month, there will be shocking upsets, highlight-reel goals and plenty of drama for fans around the globe to endure. When the dust settles on July 13, one national team will stand above the rest.

Once the tournament gets underway, it moves pretty fast. It only takes seven matches to get from the group stage to the final, which is why there's reason for optimism almost across the board. Finding the peak form at the right time can lead to a deep run for a large number of squads.

Above all else, it's a showcase unlike any other in the world of sports. That should be especially true this year with the football-crazy nation of Brazil serving as the host. So let's check out all of the key information for the month ahead.

 

 

Top Teams

2014 World Cup - Championship Odds
Rank National Team Title Odds
1 Brazil +300
2 Argentina +450
3 Germany +500
4 Spain +700
5 Belgium +1400

Odds via Odds Shark

As the odds show, there are four teams that enter the tournament in a class of their own. Belgium, a side that's generated plenty of sleeper hype since the draw was completed, headlines a strong secondary group of contenders.

Normally, a manager of the tournament favorite would do everything possible to take pressure off his players. Not Luiz Felipe Scolari. The Brazil boss has remained steadfast in his belief that the Selecao are going to capture the title on home soil.

BeIN Sports passed along comments from Scolari about the role the fans will play:

It helps us win. Fans, they help us win. Fans are important. I have said even though some journalists don't agree, I'm not worried about this (burden of expectation). We have a 12th player.

We are playing at home, something that makes the difference. We have a squad that is competitive and of a high quality. And having this together with the fans we can always be the best. Because of this, I'm completely confident that we can get to the final and become champions.

In reality, very little separates the top four teams. The reigning champions from Spain bring a battle-tested veteran squad. Germany has probably the most well-rounded roster. And Argentina gets to play in South America while also featuring a dynamic strike force, led by Lionel Messi.

Although the overall high level of competition probably makes it unlikely, it wouldn't be a surprise if those four teams ended up comprising the semifinals. Brazil simply gets the slight edge in title odds because they will have immense crowd support.

 

Group Projections

2014 World Cup - Group Predictions
Group 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
A Brazil Croatia Mexico Cameroon
B Spain Chile Netherlands Australia
C Ivory Coast Colombia Japan Greece
D Italy England Uruguay Costa Rica
E France Ecuador Switzerland Honduras
F Argentina Bosnia & Herzegovina Nigeria Iran
G Germany United States Portugal Ghana
H Belgium Russia South Korea Algeria

Projections

Most of the predictions are pretty straightforward, with the top contenders winning their respective groups. There are a couple picks worth reviewing, though.

In Group B, Spain and the Netherlands will dominate the headlines, but Chile is a team to watch. Alexis Sanchez is perhaps the most underrated player in the tournament. He's a game-changing forward who led an explosive attack during qualifying.

The Oranje are dealing with plenty of question marks at the back due to a lack of international experience. It's a weakness La Roja should be able to exploit in their head-to-head matchup in order to secure a spot alongside Spain in the knockout rounds.

Which group is the toughest from top to bottom?

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Group D is another tricky pool. It's likely a three-team race for two spots between England, Italy and Uruguay, but Costa Rica is capable of playing a defensive style that can frustrate even the best opponents. It could very well end up playing the role of spoiler.

The reason Uruguay is projected to fall short is the lack of star power behind the forwards. Luis Suarez and Co. should be able to put up some goals, but keeping them off the board will be a major challenge in such a difficult group.

Finally, there's the "Group of Death." Group G features Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the United States, four sides that can all make a strong case as to why they will advance. It should make for six high-intensity matches.

As mentioned, the German squad is probably the most complete in the tournament, so it's hard to imagine them getting knocked out. The other spot is up for grabs between the other three teams, although Cristiano Ronaldo ensures Portugal will be the popular pick.

The one area where the United States has the edge is in goal. Tim Howard is coming off a terrific season with Everton in the Premier League, and an in-form goalkeeper can carry a team through the group stage. Jeff Carlisle of ESPN provided remarks from Jurgen Klinsmann about where his keeper stands:

Howard will be the difference as the Americans survive the "Group of Death."

 

Tournament Fixtures

2014 World Cup - Complete Schedule
Date Time (ET) Group Match TV
June 12 4 p.m. A Brazil vs. Croatia ESPN
June 13 12 p.m. A Mexico vs. Cameroon ESPN2
June 13 3 p.m. B Spain vs. Netherlands ESPN
June 13 6 p.m. B Chile vs. Australia ESPN2
June 14 12 p.m. C Colombia vs. Greece ABC
June 14 3 p.m. D Uruguay vs. Costa Rica ABC
June 14 6 p.m. D England vs. Italy ESPN
June 14 9 p.m. C Ivory Coast vs. Japan ESPN
June 15 12 p.m. E Switzerland vs. Ecuador ABC
June 15 3 p.m. E France vs. Honduras ABC
June 15 6 p.m. F Argentina vs. Bosnia-H. ESPN
June 16 12 p.m. G Germany vs. Portugal ESPN
June 16 3 p.m. F Iran vs. Nigeria ESPN
June 16 6 p.m. G Ghana vs. USA ESPN
June 17 12 p.m. H Belgium vs. Algeria ESPN
June 17 3 p.m. A Brazil vs. Mexico ESPN
June 17 6 p.m. H Russia vs. South Korea ESPN
June 18 12 p.m. B Australia vs. Netherlands ESPN
June 18 3 p.m. B Spain vs. Chile ESPN
June 18 6 p.m. A Cameroon vs. Croatia ESPN
June 19 12 p.m. C Colombia vs. Ivory Coast ESPN
June 19 3 p.m. D Uruguay vs. England ESPN
June 19 6 p.m. C Japan vs. Greece ESPN
June 20 12 p.m. D Italy vs. Costa Rica ESPN
June 20 3 p.m. E Switzerland vs. France ESPN
June 20 6 p.m. E Honduras vs. Ecuador ESPN
June 21 12 p.m. F Argentina vs. Iran ESPN
June 21 3 p.m. G Germany vs. Ghana ESPN
June 21 6 p.m. F Nigeria vs. Bosnia-H. ESPN
June 22 12 p.m. H Belgium vs. Russia ABC
June 22 3 p.m. H South Korea vs. Algeria ABC
June 22 6 p.m. G USA vs. Portugal ESPN
June 23 12 p.m. B Netherlands vs. Chile ESPN
June 23 12 p.m. B Australia vs. Spain ESPN2
June 23 4 p.m. A Croatia vs. Mexico ESPN
June 23 4 p.m. A Cameroon vs. Brazil ESPN2
June 24 12 p.m. D Italy vs. Uruguay ESPN
June 24 12 p.m. D Costa Rica vs. England ESPN2
June 24 4 p.m. C Japan vs. Colombia ESPN
June 24 4 p.m. C Greece vs. Ivory Coast ESPN2
June 25 12 p.m. F Nigeria vs. Argentina ESPN
June 25 12 p.m. F Bosnia-H. vs. Iran ESPN2
June 25 4 p.m. E Ecuador vs. France ESPN
June 25 4 p.m. E Honduras vs. Switzerland ESPN2
June 26 12 p.m. G United States vs. Germany ESPN
June 26 12 p.m. G Portugal vs. Ghana ESPN2
June 26 4 p.m. H South Korea vs. Belgium ESPN
June 26 4 p.m. H Algeria vs. Russia ESPN2
June 28 12 p.m. R of 16 1A vs. 2B (Match 49) ABC
June 28 4 p.m. R of 16 1C vs. 2D (Match 50) ABC
June 29 12 p.m. R of 16 1B vs. 2A (Match 51) ESPN
June 29 4 p.m. R of 16 1D vs. 2C (Match 52) ESPN
June 30 12 p.m. R of 16 1E vs. 2F (Match 53) ESPN
June 30 4 p.m. R of 16 1G vs. 2H (Match 54) ESPN
July 1 12 p.m. R of 16 1F vs. 2E (Match 55) ESPN
July 1 4 p.m. R of 16 1H vs. 2G (Match 56) ESPN
July 4 12 p.m. Quarter W53 vs. W54 (Match 57) ESPN2
July 4 4 p.m. Quarter W49 VS. W50 (Match 58) ESPN
July 5 12 p.m. Quarter W55 vs. W56 (Match 59) ABC
July 5 4 p.m. Quarter W51 vs. W52 (Match 60) ESPN
July 8 4 p.m. Semis W57 vs. W58 (Match 61) ESPN
July 9 4 p.m. Semis W59 vs. W60 (Match 62) ESPN
July 12 4 p.m. 3rd L61 vs. L62 ESPN
July 13 3 p.m. Title W61 vs. W62 ABC

FIFA.com and ESPNMediaZone.com

 

Knockout Bracket

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

 

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