The official FIFA World Cup draw has – at long, long last – been completed, after a lavish Brazilian-themed ceremony held in the Costa do Sauipe resort of Bahia. The World Cup odds have been updated, England condemned to another pitiful showing at the World Cup and Brazil given a good workout to warm them up for their bid to win their 6th World Cup.
CONFIRMED 2014 WORLD CUP FINALS GROUPS
GROUP A: BRAZIL, CROATIA, MEXICO, CAMEROON
GROUP B: SPAIN, HOLLAND, CHILE, AUSTRAILIA
GROUP C: COLOMBIA, GREECE, IVORY COAST, JAPAN
GROUP D: URUGUAY, COSTA RICA, ENGLAND, ITALY
GROUP E: SWITZERLAND, ECUADOR, FRANCE, HONDURAS
GROUP F: ARGENTINA, BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA, IRAN, NIGERIA
GROUP G: GERMANY, PORTUGAL, GHANA, USA
GROUP H: BELGIUM, ALGERIA, RUSSIA, KOREA REPUBLIC
The Premier League will be heavily represented in this summer’s finals; and England will certainly come up against some famous faces in Group D.
Here are some of the biggest match-ups to look forward to in Brazil this summer:
Current world champions Spain will come up against Holland in the opening fixture of Group B, with Man Utd’s Robin Van Persie looking to strike fear into the hearts of the Spanish defence. Chelsea duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, as well as Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, will hope to be heavily involved in the proceedings.
Roy Hodgson’s England were drawn against Luis Suarez’ Uruguay, and Mario Balotelli’s Italy; in what is certainly a Group of Death.
With Liverpool’s Suarez in the form of his life; he could make things very difficult for Wayne Rooney et al. Balotelli (who we miss him in English football) will no-doubt provide excellent entertainment, and it will be fascinating how he fairs against the likes of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka in the England defence.
Germany, with the likes of Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker in their ranks, will face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the first match of Group G. Former Chelsea man, Raul Merelies could also be involved, as well as former Tottenham striker Helda Postiga.
Chelsea striker, Samuel Eto’o’s Cameroon and Man Utd hit-man, Javier Hernandez’ Mexico will have to contend with the might of Brazil in Group A. Eto’o will take on his Stamford Bridge teammates Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz when facing the host nation.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast will be in good spirits, after being drawn in Group C with Greece, Japan and Colombia.
Radamel Falcao, a rumoured January target for Chelsea, will certainly be worth a look at, as he seeks to continue his phenomenal goal scoring form.
France, with the likes of Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris; Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny; and Newcastle’s Yoann Cabaye in their squad, will fancy their chances of progressing to the round of 16.
Man Utd winger Antonio Valencia will be crucial to the Ecuadorian cause; with Fulham duo Kasami and Senderos to play their parts for the seeded Switzerland.
Belgium, seeded in Pot 1 for the draw, have been drawn with Russia, Algeria and the Korea Republic. Possessing a whole host of Premier League stars, such as Chelsea trio Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku; Man City Captain Vincent Kompany; and Arsenal defender Thomas Vermalean, they are most people’s pick as the dark horses for the competition.
Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta will come up against Man City teammate, Edin Dzeko; with Argentina in Group F with Bosnia-Herzegovina. Liverpool loan-man Victor Moses, and Chelsea midfielder Mikel will look to spur on Nigeria, as the reigning African Cup of Nations Champions look to cause an upset.