The draw is done and dusted and it seems to have done no harm to 2014 World Cup betting odds, at least where the favourites are concerned.
Here are the final group stage line-ups for the Brazil 2014 World Cup:
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
In what was a superbly lavish ceremony in the Costa do Sauipe resort of Bahia, the fate of the 32 teams was decided; with a number of super early ties now to look forward to.
Current world champions Spain will come up against Holland in the opening fixture of Group B, in what will be a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa. Chile and Australia complete the tricky-looking group, with the Aussies in for a very tough time.
England were drawn with the dangerous Uruguay, former World Champions Italy, and Costa Rica in Group D. Fans of the Premier League will surely look forward to seeing Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and former Man City striker Mario Balotelli come up against Roy Hodgson’s men.
It will take a monumental effort for England to come out of this group, and the atmosphere was electric as their name was revealed to the world to be in the Group of Death.
Germany, one of the favourites for the competition, will face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the first match of Group G. The two nations will clash once more, after having been drawn together in the Euro 2012 group stage. Ghana and the USA (now coached by former Germany manager, Jurgen Klinsmann), make up the rest of the group.
Brazil will face Croatia in the opening game of the tournament in Sao Paulo on June 12th, with Samuel Eto’o’s Cameroon and Javier Hernandez’ Mexico completing Group A. The hosts will find progression no easy matter, with all three other teams capable of providing an upset.
Meanwhile, Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast will fancy their chances in Group C against Greece, Japan and Colombia.
Radamel Falcao will however be one to watch, with the Colombian super-striker in perennially white-hot form for club and country.
France have a great chance of progressing to the round of 16, having been grouped with Honduras, Switzerland and Ecuador in Group E. Possessing an impressive midfield, with Ballon d’Or nominee Franck Ribery on the wing, they will see the draw as a real incentive to set right the appalling manner in which they exited the competition in 2010.
The Belgians, seeded in Pot 1 for the draw, have a favourable group; with Russia, Algeria and the Korea Republic awaiting them in Group H. With the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Vincenet Kompany in their ranks; they have an excellent chance of emulating their 1986 team in the Mexico World Cup, where they finished 4th.
Leo Messi’s Argentina also have a great chance of coming through their group unscathed; having been drawn against Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F.
Do England have a chance of getting out of the group stages? Let us know your thoughts on the draw in the comments below.