World Cup Schedule 2014: Vital Viewing Info for Best Group Matches in Brazil

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World Cup Schedule 2014: Vital Viewing Info for Best Group Matches in Brazil
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The 2014 World Cup in Brazil promises to be one of the best in recent memory due to the sheer amount of top contenders. Any number of teams could potentially win this tournament, which makes every match hugely important.

As good as the knockout rounds are, it can be argued that no stage of the World Cup is more entertaining than the group round. Not only does it feature plenty of David vs. Goliath matchups, but it also pits some of the top soccer powers in the world against each other.

With so many excellent matches on the upcoming slate, here is the full viewing schedule for the 2014 World Cup, along with further analysis regarding the very best matches the group stage has to offer.

 

World Cup Schedule

2014 World Cup Schedule and TV Info
Date Matchup Start Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Thu, June 12 Group A: Brazil vs. Croatia 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 13 Group A: Mexico vs. Cameroon 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Fri, June 13 Group B: Spain vs. Netherlands 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 13 Group B: Chile vs. Australia 6 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group C: Colombia vs. Greece 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group D: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica 3 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group D: England vs. Italy 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 14 Group C: Ivory Coast vs. Japan 9 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, June 15 Group E: Switzerland vs. Ecuador 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 15 Group E: France vs. Honduras 3 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 15 Group F: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 16 Group G: Germany vs. Portugal 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 16 Group F: Iran vs. Nigeria 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 16 Group G: Ghana vs. United States 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 17 Group H: Belgium vs. Algeria 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 17 Group A: Brazil vs. Mexico 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 17 Group H: Russia vs. South Korea 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 18 Group B: Australia vs. Netherlands 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 18 Group B: Spain vs. Chile 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 18 Group A: Cameroon vs. Croatia 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 19 Group C: Colombia vs. Ivory Coast 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 19 Group D: Uruguay vs. England 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 19 Group C: Japan vs. Greece 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 20 Group D: Italy vs. Costa Rica 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 20 Group E: Switzerland vs. France 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Fri, June 20 Group E: Honduras vs. Ecuador 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 21 Group F: Argentina vs. Iran 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 21 Group G: Germany vs. Ghana 3 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, June 21 Group F: Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, June 22 Group H: Belgium vs. Russia 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 22 Group H: South Korea vs. Algeria 3 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 22 Group G: United States vs. Portugal 6 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group B: Netherlands vs. Chile 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group B: Australia vs. Spain 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group A: Croatia vs. Mexico 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 23 Group A: Cameroon vs. Brazil 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group D: Italy vs. Uruguay 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group D: Costa Rica vs. England 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group C: Japan vs. Colombia 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, June 24 Group C: Greece vs. Ivory Coast 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group F: Nigeria vs. Argentina 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group F: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group E: Ecuador vs. France 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Wed, June 25 Group E: Honduras vs. Switzerland 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group G: United States vs. Germany 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group G: Portugal vs. Ghana 12 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group H: South Korea vs. Belgium 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Thu, June 26 Group H: Algeria vs. Russia 4 p.m. ESPN2 WatchESPN
Sat, June 28 Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, June 28 Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up 4 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sun, June 29 Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, June 29 Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 30 Group E winner vs. Group F runner-up 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Mon, June 30 Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, July 1 Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up 12 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, July 1 Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, July 5 Quarterfinal 12 p.m. ABC WatchESPN
Sat, July 5 Quarterfinal 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Tue, July 8 Semifinal 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Wed, July 9 Semifinal 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sat, July 12 Third Place Game 4 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN
Sun, July 13 Final 4 p.m. ABC WatchESPN

ABCNews.com

 

Top Group Matches to Watch

Germany vs. Portugal

Group G is considered by many to be the "group of death" in this year's World Cup, which is largely due to the presence of Germany and Portugal. Germany are considered to be among the top contenders to win the World Cup, while Portugal aren't far behind. They will meet to kick off Group G play in a match that should set the tone for the entire group.

If one of the two sides lose, they will be in a precarious position, as it will leave them vulnerable to be surpassed by either the United States or Ghana. Germany will be favored in this match due largely to their depth throughout the lineup. The Germans have plenty of excellent attackers, including Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze. Perhaps most importantly, though, they have one of the world's best goalkeepers in Manuel Neuer.

Portugal have plenty of talent as well, but there is no doubt that world-class striker Cristiano Ronaldo is the biggest key to the side's success. Ronaldo has been dealing with some injuries as of late, however, and he left training early Thursday with a knee ailment, according to NBC Sports Soccer:

Ronaldo's status for the match against Germany is somewhat in question, but even if he plays he may not be himself. If Ronaldo is unable to move forward with speed and confidence, Portugal will have a very difficult time in this match.

If he is healthy, though, this could be the best match of the entire tournament.

 

Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Due largely to the presence of Lionel Messi, Argentina are considered a major threat to win the 2014 World Cup on their home continent of South America. Most seem to believe that La Albiceleste will waltz through what looks like a fairly easy group on the surface, but the Argentinians won't be able to beat a team like Bosnia and Herzegovina without putting forth maximum effort.

The Bosnians were spectacular in qualifying to reach their first-ever World Cup, and they may have enough firepower to give Argentina some trouble. The striker combination of Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic is as dynamic as any in the entire tournament, so Bosnia may be able to keep pace with the explosive Argentinians.

One person who firmly believes Bosnia have a shot against Argentina is Bosnia and Herzegovina winger Izet Hajrovic, according to Ryan Benson of Goal.com:

Physically we are ready. We played great in the preparatory matches against the Ivory Coast and Mexico so we expect to be (great) in Sunday's encounter with Argentina. We're doing well and I believe we are at (the level of) and maybe even better than Argentina. The normal thing is to have a bit of stage fright because we play the first game ever at the World Cup finals. However, it will be great motivation.
Everyone expects to play and get a result, supporters say we will and this will get us our place in the second round.

A Bosnia win over Argentina would be considered a major upset, but Bosnia don't seem to see it that way. Regardless of the result, this will most definitely be an exciting affair with plenty of attacking.

 

Uruguay vs. England

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If Group G isn't the toughest group in the entire World Cup, then that distinction belongs to Group D. It features three former World Cup champions in Uruguay, England and Italy, as well as Costa Rica. Since the top three teams are expected to beat up on the over-matched CONCACAF side, the results between will be key.

Uruguay and England will each have a match under their belts when they play, and their match could very well determine the fate of the group as a whole. Another thing that will have a major impact on the group, though, is the health of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. The Liverpool star tied the EPL single-season record with 31 goals this past season and is the biggest key to La Celeste's success in Brazil.

Suarez underwent knee surgery a few weeks ago, and it is unknown when he will be ready to return to action. According to SuperSport Blitz, Suarez is making progress in his recovery:

Per Sky Sports, Suarez himself conveyed in a video on Twitter that he is improving as well.

"Hello to everyone, I wanted to tell you that my knee is getting better. I feel very good, I have to go day by day, but everything is on the right way," Suarez said. "I wanted to thank you all for the support I received during this week and now my mind is focused on the World Cup."

If Suarez is not fit to play against England, things certainly shift in Three Lions' favor. England have plenty of attacking flair in their own right with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge leading the charge, so it would be difficult for Edinson Cavani to do it all virtually on his own without help from Suarez.

The hope is that Suarez will be able to play in that match, because it will be an extremely compelling one if both teams are at full strength.

 

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