World Cup Schedule 2014: Fixtures, TV Coverage and FIFA Predictions

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World Cup Schedule 2014: Fixtures, TV Coverage and FIFA Predictions
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After years of intense preparation and anticipation, the 2014 World Cup has arrived as the planet's greatest footballers descend on the world's most-decorated football nation.  

While hosts Brazil aim to heal 64-year-old wounds by winning on their home soil, 31 other nations will be gunning for the game's top prize as well. 

Wondering how it will all play out? 

Below you'll find television coverage for all 64 World Cup matches this summer as well as predictions through July 13's final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro

2014 World Cup Schedule
Date Matchup Start Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Thu, June 12 Group A: Brazil vs. Croatia 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 13 Group A: Mexico vs. Cameroon 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Fri, June 13 Group B: Spain vs. Netherlands 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 13 Group B: Chile vs. Australia 6 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group C: Colombia vs. Greece 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group D: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica 3 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group D: England vs. Italy 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group C: Ivory Coast vs. Japan 9 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, June 15 Group E: Switzerland vs. Ecuador 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 15 Group E: France vs. Honduras 3 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 15 Group F: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 16 Group G: Germany vs. Portugal 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 16 Group F: Iran vs. Nigeria 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 16 Group G: Ghana vs. United States 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 17 Group H: Belgium vs. Algeria 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 17 Group A: Brazil vs. Mexico 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 17 Group H: Russia vs. South Korea 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 18 Group B: Australia vs. Netherlands 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 18 Group B: Spain vs. Chile 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 18 Group A: Cameroon vs. Croatia 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 19 Group C: Colombia vs. Ivory Coast 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 19 Group D: Uruguay vs. England 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 19 Group C: Japan vs. Greece 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 20 Group D: Italy vs. Costa Rica 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 20 Group E: Switzerland vs. France 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 20 Group E: Honduras vs. Ecuador 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 21 Group F: Argentina vs. Iran 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 21 Group G: Germany vs. Ghana 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 21 Group F: Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, June 22 Group H: Belgium vs. Russia 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 22 Group H: South Korea vs. Algeria 3 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 22 Group G: United States vs. Portugal 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group B: Netherlands vs. Chile 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group B: Australia vs. Spain 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group A: Croatia vs. Mexico 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group A: Cameroon vs. Brazil 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group D: Italy vs. Uruguay 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group D: Costa Rica vs. England 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group C: Japan vs. Colombia 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group C: Greece vs. Ivory Coast 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group F: Nigeria vs. Argentina 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group F: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group E: Ecuador vs. France 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group E: Honduras vs. Switzerland 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group G: United States vs. Germany 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group G: Portugal vs. Ghana 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group H: South Korea vs. Belgium 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group H: Algeria vs. Russia 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Sat, June 28 Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, June 28 Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up 4 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 29 Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, June 29 Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 30 Group E winner vs. Group F runner-up 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 30 Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, July 1 Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, July 1 Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, July 5 Quarterfinal 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, July 5 Quarterfinal 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, July 8 Semifinal 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, July 9 Semifinal 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, July 12 Third Place Game 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, July 13 Final 4 p.m. ABC WatchESPN

Source: ABCNews.com

 

*Below are projections only. 

 

While the makeup of the knockout stage will depend on what unfolds in the group stage, the favorites all project to get out of their respective groups. The oddsmakers give Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain the best shot to win it all this summer, and if each of those superpowers wins their respective group, the four will be on course for the semifinals. 

Here's my take on how the group stage will play out:

2014 World Cup Group Stage Projections
Group A W D L Pts
Brazil 3 0 0 9
Croatia 1 1 1 4
Mexico 1 1 1 4
Cameroon 0 0 3 0
Group B W D L Pts
Spain 2 1 0 7
Netherlands 2 1 0 7
Chile 1 0 2 3
Australia 0 0 3 0
Group C W D L Pts
Colombia 2 1 0 7
Japan 2 0 1 6
Greece 2 0 1 6
Ivory Coast 0 1 2 1
Group D W D L Pts
Uruguay 2 1 0 7
Italy 1 2 0 5
England 1 1 1 4
Costa Rica 0 0 3 0
Group E W D L Pts
France 2 1 0 7
Switzerland 2 1 0 7
Ecuador 1 0 2 3
Honduras 0 0 3 0
Group F W D L Pts
Argentina 3 0 0 9
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 0 1 6
Nigeria 1 0 2 3
Iran 0 0 3 0
Group G W D L Pts
Germany 2 1 0 7
Portugal 2 1 0 7
United States 0 1 2 1
Ghana 0 1 2 1
Group H W D L Pts
Belgium 2 1 0 7
Russia 1 2 0 5
South Korea 1 1 1 4
Algeria 0 0 3 0

Source: FIFA.com

Based on my group-stage predictions, each of the four favorites will land in a different quarter of the round of 16 draw.

Brazil sit up top as the Group A winners. Germany land in the second quarter as the Group G winners with defending champions Spain (Group B) below them and then Argentina (Group F) at the bottom of the draw.

As ESPN FC notes, it certainly wouldn't be surprising to see those past champions crash the final four:

Here's how the knockout stage would set up and how I predict it would unfold:

2014 World Cup Knockout Stage Projections
Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final Champion
Brazil
vs. Brazil
Netherlands
vs. Brazil
Colombia
vs. Colombia
Italy
vs. Brazil
France
vs. France
Bosnia-Herzegovina
vs. Germany
Germany
vs. Germany
Russia
vs. Brazil
Spain
vs. Spain
Croatia
vs. Spain
Uruguay
vs. Uruguay
Japan
vs. Spain
Argentina
vs. Argentina
Switzerland
vs. Argentina
Belgium
vs. Belgium
Portugal

Source: FIFA.com

In such a scenario, the Selecao would be a heavy favorite against the Netherlands in the round of 16. The winner of Colombia versus Italy could pose plenty of problems for Luiz Felipe Scolari's squad, but the advantage of playing at home gives Brazil the edge yet again.

In April, Neymar talked to Bleacher Report lead writer Will Tidey about the boost he and his teammates will have this summer:

"I think we are going to have a great show...especially with the supporters and fans. We [Brazil] have a very important weapon in our hands—the supporters. They will help us along."

Germany is the logical pick to face Brazil in the semifinals. If the three-time World Cup winners can get by Russia and the winner of France versus Bosnia and Herzegovina, which many would expect them to, it'll be Brazil versus Germany for a berth in the final.

On the bottom half, Spain and Argentina appear to be the top dogs. While Uruguay and Belgium are legitimate World Cup contenders, you'd be hard-pressed to bet against the defending champions and Lionel Messi on South American soil.

Which favorite would you pick to win it all?

Submit Vote vote to see results

That sets up a tantalizing Spain versus Argentina semifinal. 

While a Brazil-Argentina final would be sensational and likely rock the continent to its core, a rematch of last summer's 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup final appears more likely. Spain's stars won't be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment and their short-passing style means more possession and more scoring chances than their opponents. 

Therefore, watch for a Brazil-Spain final in Rio de Janeiro, with the home team ultimately winning its sixth World Cup title and first since 2002.

Although it won't change what happened in 1950, it'll more than ease the suffering. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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