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

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 30:  Jesus Navas of Spain competes with Neymar of Brazil during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Final match between Brazil and Spain at Maracana on June 30, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJune 11, 2014

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
DateMatchupStart Time (ET)TVLive Stream
Thu, June 12Group A: Brazil vs. Croatia4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Fri, June 13Group A: Mexico vs. Cameroon12 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Fri, June 13Group B: Spain vs. Netherlands3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Fri, June 13Group B: Chile vs. Australia6 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Sat, June 14Group C: Colombia vs. Greece12 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sat, June 14Group D: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica3 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sat, June 14Group D: England vs. Italy6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sat, June 14Group C: Ivory Coast vs. Japan9 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sun, June 15Group E: Switzerland vs. Ecuador12 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sun, June 15Group E: France vs. Honduras3 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sun, June 15Group F: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 16Group G: Germany vs. Portugal12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 16Group F: Iran vs. Nigeria3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 16Group G: Ghana vs. United States6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, June 17Group H: Belgium vs. Algeria12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, June 17Group A: Brazil vs. Mexico3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, June 17Group H: Russia vs. South Korea6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Wed, June 18Group B: Australia vs. Netherlands12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Wed, June 18Group B: Spain vs. Chile3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Wed, June 18Group A: Cameroon vs. Croatia6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Thu, June 19Group C: Colombia vs. Ivory Coast12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Thu, June 19Group D: Uruguay vs. England3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Thu, June 19Group C: Japan vs. Greece6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Fri, June 20Group D: Italy vs. Costa Rica12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Fri, June 20Group E: Switzerland vs. France3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Fri, June 20Group E: Honduras vs. Ecuador6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sat, June 21Group F: Argentina vs. Iran12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sat, June 21Group G: Germany vs. Ghana3 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sat, June 21Group F: Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sun, June 22Group H: Belgium vs. Russia12 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sun, June 22Group H: South Korea vs. Algeria3 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sun, June 22Group G: United States vs. Portugal6 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 23Group B: Netherlands vs. Chile12 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Mon, June 23Group B: Australia vs. Spain12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 23Group A: Croatia vs. Mexico4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 23Group A: Cameroon vs. Brazil4 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Tue, June 24Group D: Italy vs. Uruguay12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, June 24Group D: Costa Rica vs. England12 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Tue, June 24Group C: Japan vs. Colombia4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, June 24Group C: Greece vs. Ivory Coast4 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Wed, June 25Group F: Nigeria vs. Argentina12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Wed, June 25Group F: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran12 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Wed, June 25Group E: Ecuador vs. France4 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Wed, June 25Group E: Honduras vs. Switzerland4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Thu, June 26Group G: United States vs. Germany12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Thu, June 26Group G: Portugal vs. Ghana12 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Thu, June 26Group H: South Korea vs. Belgium4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Thu, June 26Group H: Algeria vs. Russia4 p.m.ESPN2WatchESPN
Sat, June 28Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up12 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sat, June 28Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up4 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sun, June 29Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sun, June 29Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 30Group E winner vs. Group F runner-up12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Mon, June 30Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, July 1Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up12 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, July 1Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sat, July 5Quarterfinal12 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
Sat, July 5Quarterfinal4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Tue, July 8Semifinal4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Wed, July 9Semifinal4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sat, July 12Third Place Game4 p.m.ESPNWatchESPN
Sun, July 13Final4 p.m.ABCWatchESPN
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 AWDLPts
Brazil3009
Croatia1114
Mexico1114
Cameroon0030
Group BWDLPts
Spain2107
Netherlands2107
Chile1023
Australia0030
Group CWDLPts
Colombia2107
Japan2016
Greece2016
Ivory Coast0121
Group DWDLPts
Uruguay2107
Italy1205
England1114
Costa Rica0030
Group EWDLPts
France2107
Switzerland2107
Ecuador1023
Honduras0030
Group FWDLPts
Argentina3009
Bosnia-Herzegovina2016
Nigeria1023
Iran0030
Group GWDLPts
Germany2107
Portugal2107
United States0121
Ghana0121
Group HWDLPts
Belgium2107
Russia1205
South Korea1114
Algeria0030
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 16QuarterfinalsSemifinalsFinalChampion
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.

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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