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World Cup 2014 Groups Schedule: Fixtures and Predictions for Day 2

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 12: The Happiness Flag is seen as artists perform during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil prior to the Group A match between Brazil and Croatia at Arena de Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Adam WellsFeatured Columnist IVNovember 17, 2016

The majesty and spectacle that is the World Cup brings with it the kind of hope and optimism around the world that you rarely find in sports. This isn't just a case of team pride, as countries stand united to watch their team win the most prestigious sporting event in the world. 

Day 1 of the 2014 World Cup was a tune-up which gave host country Brazil a chance to show off its skills against Croatia. Day 2 is when the action really kicks into gear with three matches, each one featuring a powerhouse club. 

There's no time to breathe now that the event has started, so just sit back and enjoy the majesty of the world's biggest sporting event. We are here to make life easier with a look at the schedule and some predictions for Day 2. 

World Cup Group Phase Schedule
DateTime (ET)Team 1Team 2GroupTV
Thursday, June 124 p.m.BrazilCroatiaAESPN
Friday, June 1312 p.m.MexicoCameroonAESPN2
Friday, June 133 p.m.SpainNetherlandsBESPN
Friday, June 136 p.m.ChileAustraliaBESPN2
Saturday, June 1412 p.m.ColombiaGreeceCABC
Saturday, June 143 p.m.UruguayCosta RicaDABC
Saturday, June 146 p.m.EnglandItalyDESPN
Saturday, June 149 p.m.Ivory CoastJapanCESPN
Sunday, June 1512 p.m.SwitzerlandEcuadorEABC
Sunday, June 153 p.m.FranceHondurasEABC
Sunday, June 156 p.m.ArgentinaBosnia-HerzegovinaFESPN
Monday, June 1612 p.m.GermanyPortugalGESPN
Monday, June 163 p.m.IranNigeriaFESPN
Monday, June 166 p.m.GhanaUnited StatesGESPN
Tuesday, June 1712 p.m.BelgiumAlgeriaHESPN
Tuesday, June 173 p.m.BrazilMexicoAESPN
Tuesday, June 176 p.m.RussiaSouth KoreaHESPN
Wednesday, June 1812 p.m.AustraliaNetherlandsBESPN
Wednesday, June 183 p.m.SpainChileBESPN
Wednesday, June 186 p.m.CameroonCroatiaAESPN
Thursday, June 1912 p.m.ColombiaIvory CoastCESPN
Thursday, June 193 p.m.UruguayEnglandDESPN
Thursday, June 196 p.m.JapanGreeceCESPN
Friday, June 2012 p.m.ItalyCosta RicaDESPN
Friday, June 203 p.m.SwitzerlandFranceEESPN
Friday, June 206 p.m.HondurasEcuadorEESPN
Saturday, June 2112 p.m.ArgentinaIranFESPN
Saturday, June 213 p.m.GermanyGhanaGESPN
Saturday, June 216 p.m.NigeriaBosnia-HerzegovinaFESPN
Sunday, June 2212 p.m.BelgiumRussiaHABC
Sunday, June 223 p.m.South KoreaAlgeriaHABC
Sunday, June 226 p.m.United StatesPortugalGESPN
Monday, June 2312 p.m.AustraliaSpainBESPN2
Monday, June 2312 p.m.NetherlandsChileBESPN
Monday, June 234 p.m.CroatiaMexicoAESPN
Monday, June 234 p.m.CameroonBrazilAESPN2
Tuesday, June 2412 p.m.ItalyUruguayDESPN
Tuesday, June 2412 p.m.Costa RicaEnglandDESPN2
Tuesday, June 244 p.m.JapanColombiaCESPN
Tuesday, June 244 p.m.GreeceIvory CoastCESPN2
Wednesday, June 2512 p.m.NigeriaArgentinaFESPN
Wednesday, June 2512 p.m.Bosnia-HerzegovinaIranFESPN2
Wednesday, June 254 p.m.HondurasSwitzerlandEESPN2
Wednesday, June 254 p.m.EcuadorFranceEESPN
Thursday, June 2612 p.m.United StatesGermanyGESPN
Thursday, June 2612 p.m.PortugalGhanaGESPN2
Thursday, June 264 p.mSouth KoreaBelgiumHESPN
Thursday, June 264 p.m.AlgeriaRussiaHESPN2

ESPN

 

Day 2 Predictions

Mexico vs. Cameroon

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United on the ball  during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United  at St James' Park on April 5, 2014 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Pho
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Mexico aren't starting the World Cup on a high note with star Javier Hernandez out of the starting lineup against Cameroon. They also endured several trials on their journey to Brazil, including going through three managers until settling on Miguel Herrera last year. 

On top of that, Mexico have to contend with an underrated Cameroon squad. Unfortunately there are bigger issues happening in the real world for Cameroon, who refused to fly to Brazil for the World Cup until the last minute due to a salary dispute, according to The Guardian

Both Mexico and Cameroon are volatile right now, but the latter have more going for them with one of the top defenses. Paul Doyle of the The Guardian noted the versatility that manager Volker Finke has available:

If Matip does not play at the back, he could start in midfield, where Finke has good options. Alex Song and Enoh Eyong have been stalwarts under the German but Stéphane Mbia’s superb season with Sevilla must tempt the manager to include him. ...

Finke could alter his usual 4-3-3 formation to include both [Samuel] Eto’o and [Vincent] Aboubakar: the manager must decide whether that is a necessary disruption or another one that Cameroon could do without.

Mexico are still better on paper, but they haven't played up to their potential in years. Consider this a mild upset by the Cameroonian squad. 

Prediction: Cameroon 2, Mexico 1

 

Spain vs. Netherlands

Carmelo Rubio/Associated Press

This is easily the best match of the day, which isn't difficult to understand considering it's a rematch of the 2010 final. The Netherlands have their work cut out to upend the defending World Cup champions, but it's not an impossible task. 

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal is pulling out all stops to ensure that his side get off to a good start by announcing he will switch up his defensive alignment, according to Siew-Joe Lee of The Metro

We are in for a surprise this World Cup, Louis van Gaal has decided to abandon the traditional 4-3-3 and convert to a more defensively stable 5-3-2.  The system wherein the back line is formed by three centre-backs and supported by two wing-backs sacrifices an offensive player for security in the back. A very calculated move by the Dutch mastermind, as the defense is the weakest point of the squad.

Spain have more talent than any other country in the world. Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are still very much at the peak of their powers, while Xavi Hernandez is still a key figure to have on the roster as a wily veteran and presence for the younger guys to look to in big spots. 

This is Spain's time, so why wouldn't they come out strong right out of the gate? The Netherlands will provide a challenge, and it's good to see them not resting on their laurels, but they're still looking up at the defending champs. 

Prediction: Spain 3, Netherlands 1

 

Chile vs. Australia

Bruno Magalhaes/Associated Press

As good as the Spain-Netherlands matchup should be, Chile vs. Australia has no dramatic stakes at all. Australia doesn't even register on FIFA's World Ranking list leading up to the World Cup, while Chile is in the top 15. 

The one thing that does give Australia a glimmer of hope is a lingering knee issue to Chilean star Arturo Vidal, though he was able to train with the team on Wednesday, according to FIFA.com.

Even if Vidal isn't able to play or isn't at full strength, there's not enough firepower for Australia to storm out of the gate. Captain Mile Jedinak has been ridden hard in the last year, even talking about exhaustion to Sebastian Hassett of the Sydney Morning Herald

It’s been pretty exhausting, sure, but when you hear the words “World Cup”, that’s all that has to be said. All the motivation you ever needed is right there. Mention those teams we’re playing against – Chile, The Netherlands, Spain – and any fatigue just fades away.

Even though Jedinak is brushing it off, there's no doubt that there's a lot of tread on those tires, and he could be behind the eight ball in this opening matchup against high-quality opponents. 

Chile are flying under the radar before the World Cup, but an early victory can bring this talented side to the forefront. 

Prediction: Chile 2, Australia 0

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 

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