While every thinks they will know what will happen at the 2014 World Cup, teams always find a way to surprise fans.
After not qualifying for the World Cup in 2006, Uruguay went all the way to the semifinals in 2010 before falling to Netherlands, which also had a relatively surprising run to the finals. Meanwhile, talented teams like Italy and France did not even make it out of the group stage.
At this year's event, Spain, Brazil, Germany and a few others are considered top contenders to win a title. However, there are other teams capable of crashing the party with strong play.
Here is a look at the complete group stage fixtures followed by the top sleepers to watch this summer.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Honduras||Nigeria||United States||South Korea|
|June 12||Brazil vs. Croatia||A||4 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 13||Mexico vs. Cameroon||A||12 p.m.||Natal|
|June 13||Spain vs. Netherlands||B||3 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 13||Chile vs. Australia||B||6 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 14||Colombia vs. Greece||C||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 14||Uruguay vs. Costa Rica||D||3 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 14||Ivory Coast vs. Japan||C||6 p.m.||Recife|
|June 14||England vs. Italy||D||6 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 15||Switzerland vs. Ecuador||E||12 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 15||France vs. Honduras||E||3 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 15||Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||F||6 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 16||Germany vs. Portugal||G||12 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 16||Iran vs. Nigeria||F||3 p.m.||Curitiba|
|June 16||Ghana vs. United States||G||6 p.m.||Natal|
|June 17||Belgium vs. Algeria||H||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 17||Brazil vs. Mexico||A||3 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 17||Russia vs. South Korea||H||6 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 18||Australia vs. Netherlands||B||12 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 18||Cameroon vs. Croatia||A||3 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 18||Spain vs. Chile||B||6 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 19||Colombia vs. Ivory Coast||C||12 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 19||Uruguay vs. England||D||3 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 19||Greece vs. Japan||C||6 p.m.||Natal|
|June 20||Costa Rica vs. Italy||D||12 p.m.||Recife|
|June 20||Switzerland vs. France||E||3 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 20||Ecuador vs. Honduras||E||6 p.m.||Curitiba|
|June 21||Argentina vs. Iran||F||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 21||Germany vs. Ghana||G||3 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 21||Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Nigeria||F||6 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 22||South Korea vs. Algeria||H||12 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 22||United States vs. Portugal||G||3 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 22||Belgium vs. Russia||H||12 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 23||Australia vs. Spain||B||12 p.m.||Curitiba|
|June 23||Chile vs. Netherlands||B||12 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 23||Brazil vs. Cameroon||A||4 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 23||Croatia vs. Mexico||A||4 p.m.||Recife|
|June 24||Italy vs. Uruguay||D||12 p.m.||Natal|
|June 24||Costa Rica vs. England||D||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 24||Japan vs. Colombia||C||4 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 24||Greece vs. Ivory Coast||C||4 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 25||Nigeria vs. Argentina||F||12 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 25||Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran||F||12 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 25||Honduras vs. Switzerland||E||4 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 25||France vs. Ecuador||E||4 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 26||United States vs. Germany||G||12 p.m.||Recife|
|June 26||Portugal vs. Ghana||G||12 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 26||South Korea vs. Belgium||H||4 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 26||Algeria vs. Russia||H||4 p.m.||Curitiba|
Top Sleepers to Watch
While Belgium came into the draw as a seeded team, not many people actually considered them a legitimate contender to win a title. However, the talent is there for the squad to go far this summer.
Premier League players like Eden Hazard, Romelo Lukaku, Vincent Kompany and Simon Mignolet have the experience of playing at a high level against good competition. They have fared well over the past two years throughout qualifying and know how to consistently win.
The addition of Adnan Januzaj will also help provide some creativity on the attack.
On the other hand, Belgium did not even qualify for the past two World Cups, and experience could be a problem, as noted by Leander Schaerlaeckens of Fox Sports:
By the way, since Timmy Simmons didn't make the cut, Belgium has ONE player who has been to a World Cup: Daniel van Buyten, only 30+ player.— LeanderLastNameNoFit (@LeanderOnFOX) May 13, 2014
Not only will physical issues come through in this tournament, but the young squad will have to worry about nerves as well.
Still, a relatively easy group will allow the team to gain confidence before succeeding in the knockout stage.
Spain have proven you need a great midfield in order to succeed on the international level. This is something Croatia certainly have between Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic and others.
Even without Niko Kranjcar, the unit is filled with players who have succeeded with their clubs and should bring their individual talents to the national team.
Up front is Mario Mandzukic, who will miss the first match due to suspension but will be able to help the squad the rest of the tournament. After scoring 18 goals with Bayern Munich this past season, he will clearly be able to help provide plenty of offense for Croatia.
Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports notes that the defense is a bit below average, but still sees the group getting to the knockout stage:
Not bad the Croatia XI. But they have no defense and no bench. Enough to go through group stage and then being squeezed by Spain— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 14, 2014
While this would be a satisfying result for Croatia, the group is still capable of more. If Modric and Rakitic play to their ability and work to hold possession while preventing opposing attacks, the group can pull of some major upsets.
After reaching the finals of the 2006 World Cup, France were simply embarrassing at the 2010 event, finishing in last place in the group. Qualifying did not go much smoother as the team was dangerously close to missing out on a ticket to Brazil.
However, the draw was quite kind to them in December. France will compete in a group with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras. Although none of these are easy wins, none of them are guaranteed losses either.
With the amount of talent on the French roster, there is really no reason not to make at least the knockout stage. The attack alone of Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Mathieu Valbuena and Yohan Cabaye make this a difficult team to stop.
Ribery especially will have extra motivation in this tournament. According to The Guardian, the forward told RTL, "It will be my last World Cup. We have to go there to achieve something, to try to win the World Cup, quite simply."
Adding an experience defense to this group of world-class players will give them a chance to surprise people. While fans are quite aware of what France can do, the squad can exceed some of the biggest expectations over the course of the month.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.