World Cup group stages

12 June, 2014 at 19:00 (GMT+01:00)

By Lukeh

After much waiting, it's finally here. The FIFA World Cup 2014, held all across Brazil, begins with the eight groups of four teams that have qualified across the globe over the last few years. Of course the first match of the tournament involves the hosts Brazil going up against Croatia but this is only the start - the group stages go on for two weeks with the top two teams of each group qualifying for the knock out stages over two or three matches being played every day one after the other. With the altitude and temperature of South America to deal with just as much as the squads' talents, we could be in for some upsets and surprises as teams from all over are welcomed by the football-mad country of Brazil. Will they and their youthful squad succeed as hosts? Can Spain breeze through a potentially awkward group on their way to retaining the World Cup? Will England be as dismal as everyone seems to expect? To quote Alan Partridge; the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding, in this case, is football.

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