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|
*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|
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|
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.
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.
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