World Cup Schedule 2014: Full List of Dates and Start Times for All Fixtures

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World Cup Schedule 2014: Full List of Dates and Start Times for All Fixtures
Andre Penner/Associated Press
Host nation Brazil enters the World Cup as favorites.

The first South American World Cup since 1978 promises to provide one of the tightest competitions in years.  With an abundance of superstars such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar trying to establish an international legacy, there will be no shortage of storylines throughout the month-long tournament.

The group stages will surely present some unexpected contenders.  Groups B, D and G appear particularly stacked, meaning that some pre-tournament favorites could suffer an early exit, while dark-horses such as Belgium and Colombia could make deep runs with more favorable draws.  For those looking to catch the 64 matches, check out all the important dates and TV listings for the preliminary and knockout rounds:

2014 World Cup Schedule
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
June 28 12 p.m. R of 16 1A vs. 2B (Match 49) ABC
June 28 4 p.m. R of 16 1C vs. 2D (Match 50) ABC
June 29 12 p.m. R of 16 1B vs. 2A (Match 51) ESPN
June 29 4 p.m. R of 16 1D vs. 2C (Match 52) ESPN
June 30 12 p.m. R of 16 1E vs. 2F (Match 53) ESPN
June 30 4 p.m. R of 16 1G vs. 2H (Match 54) ESPN
July 1 12 p.m. R of 16 1F vs. 2E (Match 55) ESPN
July 1 4 p.m. R of 16 1H vs. 2G (Match 56) ESPN
July 4 12 p.m. Quarter W53 vs. W54 (Match 57) ESPN2
July 4 4 p.m. Quarter W49 VS. W50 (Match 58) ESPN
July 5 12 p.m. Quarter W55 vs. W56 (Match 59) ABC
July 5 4 p.m. Quarter W51 vs. W52 (Match 60) ESPN
July 8 4 p.m. Semis W57 vs. W58 (Match 61) ESPN
July 9 4 p.m. Semis W59 vs. W60 (Match 62) ESPN
July 12 4 p.m. 3rd L61 vs. L62 ESPN
July 13 3 p.m. Title W61 vs. W62 ABC

While defending champion Spain has dominated international competition since 2008, La Roja are no longer the prohibitive favorites to repeat on foreign soil.  There is no lineup that can match the pedigree of their Starting XI, but with so much of the old guard returning in 2014, legitimate questions exist about Spain's long-term viability.

Nevertheless, Spain still have enough talent to remain among the small handful of top contenders, particularly in the midfield.  The trio of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas is still arguably the best unit in the tournament.  Moreover, Spain have an impressive defensive streak in do-or-die contests of major international tournaments:

In fairness, that does not include Spain's 3-0 loss in the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup.  Brazil, the team who gave Spain the unexpected drubbing, are the hosts and the favorites to hoist their sixth World Cup.  Though many only see them as slight favorites, statistical analysis suggests a much more promising outlook:

The Brazilians are far from indomitable.  There are questions about depth at centre forward and midfielder, where the likes of Fred, Paulinho and Luis Gustavo will need to prove their championship-caliber worth. Still, playing their signature brand of aesthetically beautiful futbol in front of their home fans, Brazil must be considered the favorite.

Closer to home, the U.S. squad faces depressed expectations despite reaching the knockout stages in two of their past three World Cup appearances.  Drawn into the "Group of Death" with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, the Americans face a stiff challenge that will highlight how much progress their program has truly made.

USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann recently made waves by suggesting that winning the World Cup was impossible, per the New York Times' Sam Borden.  However, as's Brian Straus suggests, the American outlook should not be measured through an all-or-nothing scope, but rather through incremental signs:

Progress is measured in increments and gray areas and results evaluated through the lens of history. It takes a long, long time to build the foundation that produces a world champion. It took Spain 80 years.

Listen, and you’ll hear managers across the globe set the quarterfinals as a goal or claim that their mandate is simply to show well. Mid-major teams don’t enter the NCAA basketball tournament claiming they’re going to win – they take each game as it comes, play to their strengths and hope they’re the next George Mason or Butler.

The USA possess strength up the middle in Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, as well as a top-notch goalkeeper in Everton's Tim Howard.  More than the talent disparity between themselves and the European squads in their group, an underrated factor could be the amount of travel the U.S. face in their three group stage matches:

With so many circumstances conspiring against them, home fans might expect the Americans to fold much as they did in the 2006 tournament.  Ultimately, if the U.S. bucks that pessimism and emerges as more than a footnote in a star-laden competition, it might finally be the sign that the program remains on the ascent.

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