World Cup Schedule 2014: Group Fixtures, Live Stream Info and Start Times

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJune 11, 2014

Cyprus’ Nestor Mytidis, left, fights for the ball with Japan's Masato Morishige during a friendly soccer match in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Tuesday, May 27, 2014.  Japan will play against Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia in Group C of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
shizuo kambayashi/Associated Press

The best 32 national teams in the world have descended upon Brazil and the 2014 World Cup is set to begin play.

The host country Brazil will start things off against Croatia in Saturday's opener. Then two weeks of group-stage play begin between the countries as they decide who stays alive to represent the 16 in the knockout stage. Some contenders will breeze into the latter stages, while others will fizzle out early.

Let's break down the complete list of fixtures in group play and how to catch the action.

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
CameroonChileIvory CoastCosta Rica
Group EGroup FGroup GGroup H
HondurasIranUnited StatesAlgeria
EcuadorNigeriaGhanaSouth Korea



Live Stream

All 2014 World Cup matches can be streamed live on WatchESPN.


Intriguing Group-Stage Fixtures

Spain vs. Netherlands

In a jaw-dropping twist of fate, 2010 World Cup finalists Spain and Netherlands will battle on the second day of the 2014 World Cup group stage.

The Spanish outlasted the Dutch in 2010 thanks to Andres Iniesta's game-winner in extra time. It resulted in them hoisting the World Cup trophy. Two years later, they built on their success with a 2012 European Championship victory.

Netherlands still has most of the gang together with Robin van Persie seemingly fit and Arjen Robben playing his best football, but it will take massive performances from the midfield and players like Wesley Sneijder to keep Spain from dominating possession throughout.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11:  Andres Iniesta of Spain celebrates after his goal seals victory during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Afr
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Spain's attack could be depleted as dangerous striker Diego Costa has a hamstring tear and the 15-day recovery could keep him out of Brazil, per the Associated Press via Sports Illustrated. If the Atletico Madrid striker can't go, a player pegged to be a part of the first team will need to be replaced.

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 06:  Group B containing Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia is displayed on the big screen on stage behind the draw assistants, Fernanda Lima and FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke during the Final Draw for the 201
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Spain won't be the only team in this one without a key player, except the Dutch already know. Key veteran midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of Brazil with a calf injury, per Daily Mail's John Drayton. His absence will only hinder the Netherlands' performance in the midfield. 

Regardless of injury, both squads will have 2010 on their minds—Spain trying to make it happen again and the Dutch trying to prevent history from repeating itself.


Brazil vs. Croatia

After years of anticipation and expectations that have likely felt like decades for many of Brazil's players, they will finally have a chance to put all of their preparation on display against Croatia in Saturday's opener.

ZAGREB, CROATIA - NOVEMBER 19: Ivica Olic (top) of Croatia is challenged by Ragnar Sigurdsson of Iceland during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier play-off second leg match between Croatia and Iceland at Maksimir Stadium on November 19, 2013 in Zagreb, Cro
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

It's not quite a cupcake match to start out with, however, as Croatia are ranked 20th in the FIFA world rankings and are expected by many to beat out Mexico and advance out of Group A along with Brazil.

Croatia have a great blend of star talent and chemistry that allow them to compete against any opponent. With Luka Modric manning the midfield, they attack their opponents and generate plenty of traffic into the attacking third.

However, they will be without a key player in that midfield as Niko Kranjcar—Modric's partner—has been ruled out after injuring his hamstring in Queens Park Rangers' late Premier League-clinching run, per The Sunday Times' Duncan Castles:

Croatia might be no match for a team of Brazil's caliber with or without Kranjcar. Neymar is coming into his own as a leader, and there are so many players around him—Oscar, Bernard, Paulinho, Marcelo, Fred, Hulk and more—that are capable of making an impact on the game in a big way.

On top of the sheer mismatch in talent, Brazil will be playing at home in front of a crowd that has been waiting for this moment for years. It will be a crazy environment—one that Croatia will be very fortunate to escape from with any points at all.