FIFA World Cup

World Cup Schedule 2014: Fixtures, TV Info, Locations and More Info

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 15:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal looks focussed during the National Anthems ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off First Leg between Portugal and Sweden at Estadio da Luz on November 15, 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2014

The rosters are set. The training camps are wrapping up. The friendlies are behind us. The World Cup is here. 

Because you don't want to miss a single match, below you'll find information to ensure you'll catch every game from this year's tournament. This is your one-stop shop for World Cup info, folks.

And for fun, we'll also go through every group's intriguing player, whether that be the star most instrumental to his team's success or simply a talent so dynamic you won't be able to look away when the ball lands at his feet. 

Notes: All matches will be streamed live at WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN app. While the matchups aren't set for the knockout phase yet, you can find that full schedule at ESPN. The schedule below is for the group phase.

 

World Cup Schedule
DateTime (ET)Team 1Team 2GroupTVVenue
Thursday, June 124 p.m.BrazilCroatiaAESPNArena Corinthians
Friday, June 1312 p.m.MexicoCameroonAESPN2Estadio das Dunas
Friday, June 133 p.m.SpainNetherlandsBESPNArena Fonte Nova
Friday, June 136 p.m.ChileAustraliaBESPN2Arena Pantanal
Saturday, June 1412 p.m.ColombiaGreeceCABCEstadio Mineirao
Saturday, June 143 p.m.UruguayCosta RicaDABCEstadio Castelao
Saturday, June 146 p.m.EnglandItalyDESPNArena Amazonia
Saturday, June 149 p.m.Ivory CoastJapanCESPNArena Pernambuco
Sunday, June 1512 p.m.SwitzerlandEcuadorEABCNacional
Sunday, June 153 p.m.FranceHondurasEABCEstadio Beira-Rio
Sunday, June 156 p.m.ArgentinaBosnia-HerzegovinaFESPNEstadio do Maracana
Monday, June 1612 p.m.GermanyPortugalGESPNArena Fonte Nova
Monday, June 163 p.m.IranNigeriaFESPNArena da Baixada
Monday, June 166 p.m.GhanaUnited StatesGESPNEstadio das Dunas
Tuesday, June 1712 p.m.BelgiumAlgeriaHESPNEstadio Mineirao
Tuesday, June 173 p.m.BrazilMexicoAESPNEstadio Castelao
Tuesday, June 176 p.m.RussiaSouth KoreaHESPNArena Pantanal
Wednesday, June 1812 p.m.AustraliaNetherlandsBESPNEstadio Beira-Rio
Wednesday, June 183 p.m.SpainChileBESPNEstadio do Maracana
Wednesday, June 186 p.m.CameroonCroatiaAESPNArena Amazonia
Thursday, June 1912 p.m.ColombiaIvory CoastCESPNNacional
Thursday, June 193 p.m.UruguayEnglandDESPNArena Corinthians
Thursday, June 196 p.m.JapanGreeceCESPNEstadio das Dunas
Friday, June 2012 p.m.ItalyCosta RicaDESPNArena Pernambuco
Friday, June 203 p.m.SwitzerlandFranceEESPNArena Fonte Nova
Friday, June 206 p.m.HondurasEcuadorEESPNArena da Baixada
Saturday, June 2112 p.m.ArgentinaIranFESPNEstadio Mineirao
Saturday, June 213 p.m.GermanyGhanaGESPNEstadio Castelao
Saturday, June 216 p.m.NigeriaBosnia-HerzegovinaFESPNArena Pantanal
Sunday, June 2212 p.m.BelgiumRussiaHABCEstadio do Maracana
Sunday, June 223 p.m.South KoreaAlgeriaHABCEstadio Beira-Rio
Sunday, June 226 p.m.United StatesPortugalGESPNArena Amazonia
Monday, June 2312 p.m.AustraliaSpainBESPN2Arena da Baixada
Monday, June 2312 p.m.NetherlandsChileBESPNArena Corinthians
Monday, June 234 p.m.CroatiaMexicoAESPNArena Pernambuco
Monday, June 234 p.m.CameroonBrazilAESPN2Nacional
Tuesday, June 2412 p.m.ItalyUruguayDESPNEstadio das Dunas
Tuesday, June 2412 p.m.Costa RicaEnglandDESPN2Estadio Mineirao
Tuesday, June 244 p.m.JapanColombiaCESPNArena Pantanal
Tuesday, June 244 p.m.GreeceIvory CoastCESPN2Estadio Castelao
Wednesday, June 2512 p.m.NigeriaArgentinaFESPNEstadio Beira-Rio
Wednesday, June 2512 p.m.Bosnia-HerzegovinaIranFESPN2Arena Fonte Nova
Wednesday, June 254 p.m.HondurasSwitzerlandEESPN2Arena Amazonia
Wednesday, June 254 p.m.EcuadorFranceEESPNEstadio do Maracana
Thursday, June 2612 p.m.United StatesGermanyGESPNArena Pernambuco
Thursday, June 2612 p.m.PortugalGhanaGESPN2Nacional
Thursday, June 264 p.mSouth KoreaBelgiumHESPNArena Corinthians
Thursday, June 264 p.m.AlgeriaRussiaHESPN2Arena da Baixada
ESPN

 

Group A: Luka Modric, MF, Croatia

ZAGREB, CROATIA - NOVEMBER 19:  Mario Mandzukic of Croatia celebrates with team mate Luka Modric (top) after the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier play-off second leg match between Croatia and Iceland at Maksimir Stadium on November 19, 2013 in Zagreb, Croati
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Yes, you might have thought this selection would have been Brazil's Neymar, but truthfully, Brazil should win this group whether their big superstar is electrifying or not. But it's hard to imagine Croatia advancing out of this sneaky-tough group if Luka Modric doesn't play well.

The deep-lying midfielder and Real Madrid standout is the creative force on this Croatia team, and their success begins and ends with his work in the middle of the pitch. In a group devoid of any weak teams—Mexico and Cameroon are no pushovers—Modric will be the key figure in deciding which team advances alongside Brazil.

 

Group B: Whoever Plays Forward For Spain

Vague, yes, but the key to this group will likely be whether Spain gets anything out of the forward position or not. Diego Costa remains uncertain to play, though if he is at 100 percent or close, he'll likely lead the line.

But what happens if he can't go? Will the Spaniards return to the false-nine strategy they've employed in the past with Cesc Fabregas? Will they trust one of the other forwards on the roster?

This is a Spanish side that was humbled by Brazil in the Confederations Cup. The days of tiki-taka dominance might be coming to an end, so having Costa roaming in the box would be a huge bonus for Spain and make their attack far more versatile.

Spain, the Netherlands and Chile are all capable of winning this group, but all three have question marks. The Dutch have lost Rafael van der Vaart and Kevin Strootman in the midfield. Outside of Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, does Chile possess the firepower of the other two top contenders?

But the group will likely be decided by the forward play of Spain. If they get production out of the position, they should win this group without too much incident. 

 

Group C: Yaya Toure, MF, Ivory Coast

Even if Radamel Falcao was playing for Colombia, he still wouldn't be the most important player in this group.

No, that distinction belongs to Yaya Toure. 

The midfield anchor on a team full of dangerous attackers, Toure is the straw that stirs the Ivory Coast drink. He is coming off of an epic season for Manchester City that saw him score 20 goals and add nine assists in 35 Premier League performances. 

A man who can play any role in central midfield, he is at his best marauding forward and linking up the play from the defense to attack. He's a physical, athletic presence in the middle of the pitch who can play a pretty pass but also is a threat to score from distance. One of the more well-rounded players in the world today, Toure will be the key figure in a Group C devoid of weak teams.

 

Group D: Mario Balotelli, F, Italy

Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard are leaders. Luis Suarez is just better, plain and simple. Edinson Cavani has more self-control. Daniel Sturridge is more in-form. Wayne Rooney has the reputation.

But no player in Group D will influence his team's success quite like Mario Balotelli will do so for Italy.

When Balotelli is sulking, slumping or stuck on the bench, Italy are a very good defensive team with an experienced midfield, but a club that struggles to really provide a cutting edge on the attack. When Balotelli is in form, however, Italy are incredibly difficult to beat.

If Balotelli is at his best, Italy will win this group. If he's a non-factor, however, the Italians will face a struggle to advance out of their group.

 

Group E: Antoine Griezmann, LW, France

France should win this group without much drama, but the man to watch in the process is Antoine Griezmann now that Franck Ribery will be missing the tournament. How he replaces the fiery left-winger will be key to France's chances in this year's World Cup.

Griezmann isn't chopped liver, mind you, and has played quite well for France down the left flank. Depending on whom you ask, he's a superior option to Loic Remy in that role and has the talent to be one of the breakout stars on the international stage in Brazil.

Ribery's loss is a big one. Griezmann could go a long way to softening the blow.

 

Group F: Lionel Messi, F, Argentina

Duh.

Lionel Messi is a once-in-a-lifetime talent, a brilliant finisher, a man who could dribble past a defender if both were trapped in a phone booth. His game is all about precision, poetry, artistry. He can turn on a dime and rip off a powerful shot in a smaller space than that. 

No team has a more dangerous attack than Argentina, but no player is more important to that attack than Messi. He'll set up his teammates as well, yes, but don't be surprised if Messi lights up the score sheet at this World Cup.

 

Group G: Cristiano Ronaldo, LW, Portugal

If Messi is a poem, Cristiano Ronaldo is heavy metal.

Where Messi is about precision and touch, Ronaldo is about power, speed and athleticism (not that he's lacking in the touch department, mind you). His runs down the left wing are the stuff of legend, his shots from distance or set pieces the stuff of nightmares for opposing keepers. He can score in every way, from every angle, at any time. 

For comparison's sake, Ronaldo is the LeBron James of footy (Messi would probably best be described as Larry Bird, for what it's worth). While Germany have the most talent in this group, Portugal have the best player. 

 

Group H: Eden Hazard, LW, Belgium

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 15:  Eden Hazard of Belgium looks on prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group A match between Belgium and Wales at King Baudouin Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Im
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

On a team loaded with stars—from Vincent Kompany to Dries Mertens to Romelu Lukaku, to name a few—Eden Hazard stands out. The Chelsea star is one of the top left-wingers in the world today, with a bullishness on the ball, a brilliant touch and the ability to finish from distance. 

But it is his low center of gravity on the ball that makes him so fun to watch. Keep an eye on him when he is surrounded by defenders or challenged on the ball—you simply can't bully him away from it. That skill often allows him time to plot a course around a defender or his teammates time to join him in the attack. 

There are high hopes for Belgium in this year's World Cup, and they will be expected to cruise through this group. Their chances, without question, begin with Hazard's performance.

 

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