World Cup 2014: Group-by-group previews

December 7, 2013 6:32 AM

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World Cup 2014: Group-by-group previews

How each team got to the tournament and how each of the eight groups look.

A team-by-team look at each of the eight preliminary-round groups, including schedules.

GROUP A

Brazil

FIFA world ranking: 10

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Five-time champion (1958, ’62, ’70, ’94, 2002)

How qualified: Host country

Croatia

FIFA world ranking: 16

Last World Cup: 2006

Best finish: Third place (1998)

How qualified: Beat Iceland in UEFA playoff

Cameroon

FIFA world ranking: 51

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Quarterfinals (1990)

How qualified: Beat Tunisia in CAF playoff

Mexico

FIFA world ranking: 20

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Quarterfinals (1970, ’86)

How qualified: Beat New Zealand in intercontinental playoff

Schedule

June 12: Brazil vs. Croatia at Sao Paulo.

June 13: Mexico vs. Cameroon at Natal.

June 17: Brazil vs. Mexico at Fortaleza.

June 18: Cameroon vs. Croatia at Manaus.

June 23: Cameroon vs. Brazil at Brasilia; Croatia vs. Mexico at Recife.

GROUP B

Spain

FIFA world ranking: 1

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Champion, 2010

How qualified: UEFA Group I winner

Netherlands

FIFA world ranking: 9

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Three-time runner-up (1974, ’78, 2010)

How qualified: UEFA Group D winner

Chile

FIFA world ranking: 15

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Third place (1962)

How qualified: CONMEBOL round robin, third place

Australia

FIFA world ranking: 59

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Round of 16 (2006)

How qualified: AFC Group B runner-up

Schedule

June 13: Spain vs. the Netherlands at Salvador; Chile vs. Australia at Cuiaba.

June 18: Spain vs. Chile at Rio de Janeiro; Australia vs. the Netherlands at Porto Alegre.

June 23: Australia vs. Spain at Curitiba; the Netherlands vs. Chile at Sao Paulo.

GROUP E

Switzerland

FIFA world ranking: 8

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Quarterfinals (1934, ’38, ’54)

How qualified: UEFA Group E winner

Eduador

FIFA world ranking: 23

Last World Cup: 2006

Best finish: Round of 16 (2006)

How qualified: CONMEBOL round robin, fourth place

France

FIFA world ranking: 19

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Champion (1998)

How qualified: Beat Ukraine in UEFA playoff

Honduras

FIFA world ranking: 41

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Group stage

How qualified: CONCACAF, third place

Schedule

June 15: Switzerland vs. Ecuador at Brasilia; France vs. Honduras at Porto Alegre.

June 20: Switzerland vs. France at Salvador; Honduras vs. Ecuador at Curitiba.

June 25: Honduras vs. Switzerland at Manaus; Ecuador vs. France at Rio de Janeiro.

GROUP F

Argentina

FIFA world ranking: 3

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Two-time champion (1978, ’86)

How qualified: CONMEBOL round-robin winner

Bosnia-Herzegovina

FIFA world ranking: 21

Last World Cup: First appearance

Best finish: First appearance

How qualified: UEFA Group G winner

Iran

FIFA world ranking: 45

Last World Cup: 2006

Best finish: Group stage

How qualified: AFC Group A winner

Nigeria

FIFA world ranking: 36

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Round of 16 (1994, ’98)

How qualified: Beat Ethiopia in CAF playoff

Schedule

June 15: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina at Rio de Janeiro; Iran vs. Nigeria at Curitiba.

June 21: Argentina vs. Iran at Belo Horizonte; Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina at Cuiaba.

June 25: Nigeria vs. Argentina at Porto Alegre; Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran at Salvador.

GROUP G

Germany

FIFA world ranking: 2

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Three-time champion (1954, ’74, ’90)

How qualified: UEFA Group C winner

Portugal

FIFA world ranking: 5

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Third place (1966)

How qualified: Beat Sweden in UEFA playoff

Ghana

FIFA world ranking: 24

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Quarterfinals (2010)

How qualified: Beat Egypt in CAF playoff

United States

FIFA world ranking: 14

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Third place (1930)

How qualified: CONCACAF winner

Schedule

June 16: Germany vs. Portugal in Salvador; Ghana vs. U.S. in Natal.

June 21: Germany vs. Ghana in Fortaleza.

June 22: U.S. vs. Portugal in Manaus.

June 26: U.S. vs. Germany in Recife; Portugal vs. Ghana in Brasilia.

GROUP H

Belgium

FIFA world ranking: 11

Last World Cup: 2002

Best finish: Fourth place (1986)

How qualified: UEFA Group A winner

Algeria

FIFA world ranking: 26

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Group stage

How qualified: Beat Burkina Faso in CAF playoff

Russia

FIFA world ranking: 22

Last World Cup: 2002

Best finish: Fourth place (1966)

How qualified: UEFA Group F winner

South Korea

FIFA world ranking: 54

Last World Cup: 2010

Best finish: Fourth place (2002)

How qualified: AFC Group A runner-up

Schedule

June 17: Belgium vs. Algeria at Belo Horizonte; Russia vs. South Korea in Cuiaba.

June 22: Belgium vs. Russia at Rio de Janeiro; South Korea vs. Algeria in Porto Alegre.

June 26: South Korea vs. Belgium at Sao Paulo; Algeria vs. Russia at Curitiba.

Source: latimes.com

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