Whether your country is gearing up for a run to the final or simply hoping to advance past the group stage, every national team is gunning for a solid performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Action is set to take place across the country, with spectacular venues—many of which have been frantically built in the months leading up to play—ready to host hundreds of thousands of fans from all corners of the globe. From June 12 to July 13, Brazil will be the place to be in the sports world.
Each of the 32 national teams to have qualified face three matches to settle out their respective groups, and an early slip-up in these matches could doom elite countries to unfortunate draws in the round of 16 at best or, at worst, result in elimination.
Let's take a look at every upcoming fixture in group play and glance ahead at some key matches.
|2014 World Cup Group Stage Fixtures|
|June 12||Brazil vs. Croatia||A||4 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 13||Mexico vs. Cameroon||A||12 p.m.||Natal|
|June 13||Spain vs. Netherlands||B||3 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 13||Chile vs. Australia||B||6 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 14||Colombia vs. Greece||C||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 14||Uruguay vs. Costa Rica||D||3 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 14||Ivory Coast vs. Japan||C||6 p.m.||Recife|
|June 14||England vs. Italy||D||6 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 15||Switzerland vs. Ecuador||E||12 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 15||France vs. Honduras||E||3 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 15||Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||F||6 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 16||Germany vs. Portugal||G||12 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 16||Iran vs. Nigeria||F||3 p.m.||Curitiba|
|June 16||Ghana vs. United States||G||6 p.m.||Natal|
|June 17||Belgium vs. Algeria||H||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 17||Brazil vs. Mexico||A||3 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 17||Russia vs. South Korea||H||6 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 18||Australia vs. Netherlands||B||12 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 18||Cameroon vs. Croatia||A||3 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 18||Spain vs. Chile||B||6 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 19||Colombia vs. Ivory Coast||C||12 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 19||Uruguay vs. England||D||3 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 19||Greece vs. Japan||C||6 p.m.||Natal|
|June 20||Costa Rica vs. Italy||D||12 p.m.||Recife|
|June 20||Switzerland vs. France||E||3 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 20||Ecuador vs. Honduras||E||6 p.m.||Curitiba|
|June 21||Argentina vs. Iran||F||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 21||Germany vs. Ghana||G||3 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 21||Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Nigeria||F||6 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 22||South Korea vs. Algeria||H||12 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 22||United States vs. Portugal||G||3 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 22||Belgium vs. Russia||H||12 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 23||Australia vs. Spain||B||12 p.m.||Curitiba|
|June 23||Chile vs. Netherlands||B||12 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 23||Brazil vs. Cameroon||A||4 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 23||Croatia vs. Mexico||A||4 p.m.||Recife|
|June 24||Italy vs. Uruguay||D||12 p.m.||Natal|
|June 24||Costa Rica vs. England||D||12 p.m.||Belo Horizonte|
|June 24||Japan vs. Colombia||C||4 p.m.||Cuiaba|
|June 24||Greece vs. Ivory Coast||C||4 p.m.||Fortaleza|
|June 25||Nigeria vs. Argentina||F||12 p.m.||Porto Alegre|
|June 25||Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran||F||12 p.m.||Salvador|
|June 25||Honduras vs. Switzerland||E||4 p.m.||Manaus|
|June 25||France vs. Ecuador||E||4 p.m.||Rio De Janeiro|
|June 26||United States vs. Germany||G||12 p.m.||Recife|
|June 26||Portugal vs. Ghana||G||12 p.m.||Brasilia|
|June 26||South Korea vs. Belgium||H||4 p.m.||Sao Paulo|
|June 26||Algeria vs. Russia||H||4 p.m.||Curitiba|
|2014 World Cup Groups|
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Cameroon||Chile||Ivory Coast||Costa Rica|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Switzerland||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Portugal||Belgium|
Notable Group Stage Matches
England vs. Italy
It won't take long for one of the most enticing fixtures of the group stage to reveal itself, as England and Italy battle for early Group D supremacy on June 14.
While both teams are filled with experienced players, there's little doubt that Italy will rely more heavily on experience. Andrea Pirlo marshals the midfield and Gianluigi Buffon's presence in goal holds together the back line, while 23-year-old Mario Balotelli has a breakout performance in Euro 2012 to lean on.
England and Roy Hodgson come into Brazil with a noticeably young squad, but with seasoned pros such as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and James Milner in the squad, they still have a experience within their ranks.
It's tough to decide who out of England, Italy and Uruguay will advance from Group D, but not for Buffon, per Daily Mail's Matt Law. The Italy captain seems to believe that Italy has the upper hand:
At this moment, Italy are the team who can think about going the furthest compared with England and Uruguay – at least at the start of the tournament. The favourites are Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina. We are slightly further back.
Whether Italy are more suited to advance further than England, both sides should play out a hotly contested match. Knowing a loss this early would be detrimental to their chances of advancing in a rough group, expect the game to be a cagey affair.
Brazil vs. Mexico
After an unlikely gift from the Americans in World Cup qualifying, Mexico's national team embarks upon Brazil to face a group that they could very well advance from with a string of strong showings.
One of those three showings, though, has to come against the host country.
Both sides kick things off in the World Cup's opening two matches before facing each other on June 17 in the second of there three group stage ties.
An opener against Cameroon could be just what the Mexicans need to get going, which they will certainly need to happen heading into their match against Brazil. If they do click into gear, they may surprise the hosts and get out with a point.
However, it's tough to see a Mexico side that came within minutes of failing to make it to the tournament in the first place competing with the hosts of and favorites for the World Cup.
Either way, this will likely be one of the fastest-paced games of the tournament.
Ghana vs. United States
The United States were dealt an awfully rough hand in the 2014 World Cup by being slotted in Group G—the "group of death."
That makes their easiest match of the group stage one that the Americans will be hard-pressed to win.
Jurgen Klinsmann's young squad begin play in Brazil against Ghana, the team that bounced the U.S. from South Africa in a 120-minute thriller in the round of 16 four years ago.
USA's starting 11 has a completely new look from that game in 2010 and poses as many questions as it gives answers at this point. Experienced players such as Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley simply must start.
Ghana also have a few new faces, but the return of Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien in the midfield means that the African country won't be an easy out—as the U.S. learned in 2010.
Portugal and Germany await both of these teams following their matchup, so expect the U.S. and Ghana to have this opener circled on their calendars as the most winnable of the three. That should only up the ante for this showdown.
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