World Cup Schedule 2014: Group Fixtures Info, TV Coverage and Picks

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
World Cup Schedule 2014: Group Fixtures Info, TV Coverage and Picks
Gallo Images/Getty Images

National teams from around the globe worked for the past four years to reach this point. Now they have three games in the group stage to show they belong among the final 16, which would also put them within four wins of glory at the 2014 World Cup.  

The format is conducive to high drama. Since it's only single round-robin play in the group stage, there's added pressure to showcase top form right away. That's why there's usually a couple surprise exits. Certain sides just aren't able to reach their peak at the right time.

With that in mind, let's check out a complete schedule for the opening round of play, starting with the host nation of Brazil taking on Croatia. It's followed by predictions for the group winners and a look at some teams who could be heading home early.

 

Group Fixtures

2014 World Cup - Group Matches
Date Time (ET) Group Match TV
June 12 4 p.m. A Brazil vs. Croatia ESPN
June 13 12 p.m. A Mexico vs. Cameroon ESPN2
June 13 3 p.m. B Spain vs. Netherlands ESPN
June 13 6 p.m. B Chile vs. Australia ESPN2
June 14 12 p.m. C Colombia vs. Greece ABC
June 14 3 p.m. D Uruguay vs. Costa Rica ABC
June 14 6 p.m. D England vs. Italy ESPN
June 14 9 p.m. C Ivory Coast vs. Japan ESPN
June 15 12 p.m. E Switzerland vs. Ecuador ABC
June 15 3 p.m. E France vs. Honduras ABC
June 15 6 p.m. F Argentina vs. Bosnia-H. ESPN
June 16 12 p.m. G Germany vs. Portugal ESPN
June 16 3 p.m. F Iran vs. Nigeria ESPN
June 16 6 p.m. G Ghana vs. USA ESPN
June 17 12 p.m. H Belgium vs. Algeria ESPN
June 17 3 p.m. A Brazil vs. Mexico ESPN
June 17 6 p.m. H Russia vs. South Korea ESPN
June 18 12 p.m. B Australia vs. Netherlands ESPN
June 18 3 p.m. B Spain vs. Chile ESPN
June 18 6 p.m. A Cameroon vs. Croatia ESPN
June 19 12 p.m. C Colombia vs. Ivory Coast ESPN
June 19 3 p.m. D Uruguay vs. England ESPN
June 19 6 p.m. C Japan vs. Greece ESPN
June 20 12 p.m. D Italy vs. Costa Rica ESPN
June 20 3 p.m. E Switzerland vs. France ESPN
June 20 6 p.m. E Honduras vs. Ecuador ESPN
June 21 12 p.m. F Argentina vs. Iran ESPN
June 21 3 p.m. G Germany vs. Ghana ESPN
June 21 6 p.m. F Nigeria vs. Bosnia-H. ESPN
June 22 12 p.m. H Belgium vs. Russia ABC
June 22 3 p.m. H South Korea vs. Algeria ABC
June 22 6 p.m. G USA vs. Portugal ESPN
June 23 12 p.m. B Netherlands vs. Chile ESPN
June 23 12 p.m. B Australia vs. Spain ESPN2
June 23 4 p.m. A Croatia vs. Mexico ESPN
June 23 4 p.m. A Cameroon vs. Brazil ESPN2
June 24 12 p.m. D Italy vs. Uruguay ESPN
June 24 12 p.m. D Costa Rica vs. England ESPN2
June 24 4 p.m. C Japan vs. Colombia ESPN
June 24 4 p.m. C Greece vs. Ivory Coast ESPN2
June 25 12 p.m. F Nigeria vs. Argentina ESPN
June 25 12 p.m. F Bosnia-H. vs. Iran ESPN2
June 25 4 p.m. E Ecuador vs. France ESPN
June 25 4 p.m. E Honduras vs. Switzerland ESPN2
June 26 12 p.m. G United States vs. Germany ESPN
June 26 12 p.m. G Portugal vs. Ghana ESPN2
June 26 4 p.m. H South Korea vs. Belgium ESPN
June 26 4 p.m. H Algeria vs. Russia ESPN2

FIFA.com and ESPNMediaZone.com

 

Picks for Group Winners

2014 World Cup - Group Winner Predictions
Group Winner
A Brazil
B Spain
C Ivory Coast
D Italy
E France
F Argentina
G Germany
H Belgium

Projections

 

Early-Exit Alert

Portugal

 

If the draw had been more kind to Portugal it would have likely been a lock to advance. Instead, the Seleccao ended up in the "Group of Death" alongside a dominant German squad and two sides with the talent to advance in Ghana and the United States.

The tough group puts a lot of pressure on Cristiano Ronaldo to perform like the best player in the world right away. He's certainly motivated, as illustrated in comments passed along by ESPN UK from French outlet So Foot Junior about what a World Cup title would mean to him:

That would crown a great career. I know it will be difficult, but everything is possible with work.

I have always watched the players who performed the best, and by observing them I understood one thing—what makes the difference between good players and stars is their work. I have played with footballers who had incredible talent, and it's difficult to say if they were better than me, but where they fell down was in consistency.

Starting against Germany is also a disadvantage. It means there's a good chance Portugal ends up losing while either Ghana or the United States earn all three points. That will put the talented but not incredibly deep side in an early hole that will be very difficult to dig out of over the next two matches.

 

Netherlands

The reigning champions from Spain are highly likely to secure a berth in the knockout rounds. It leaves one spot coming out of Group B for either Chile or the Netherlands with Australia probably relegated to a spoiler role. It's a worrisome situation for the Dutch.

Which of these marquee sides is most likely to get knocked out early?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Not only is Chile one of the tournament's most underrated sides, but the Oranje are entering the event without their usual strength in the midfield. The absence of Kevin Strootman and Rafael van der Vaart is going to make it very difficult to control the pace of the match.

Furthermore, the Netherlands' defense lacks experience with just one player having more than 15 international appearances. It's hard to imagine the attack, led by Robin van Persie, will be enough to overcome the question marks elsewhere in such a tough group.

 

Uruguay

There are certainly strong cases that can be made both for and against Uruguay. On one hand, the Celeste are a side with plenty of very experienced international players and have the potential to feature one of the most dynamic offenses, featuring Luis Suarez.

Yet, the concern is they don't have enough talent elsewhere on the roster to survive a group that also includes Italy and England. As Paul Carr of ESPN notes, the outlet's Soccer Power Index rates Group D as the toughest in the tournament:

The high-end talent up front in Suarez and Edinson Cavani is a major weapon, but it takes more than strength in one area to advance. Unless some of the supporting cast shows improved form, Uruguay could be making an early trip home.

 

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Out of Bounds

World Football

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.