World Cup 2014 draw: The 10 best matches of the group stage - including Uruguay v England, Brazil v Croatia and Spain v Netherlands

Our pick of the matches to look forward to in Brazil

Brazil v Croatia (June 12 Sao Paulo, 2100)

It'll be worth tuning in just to mock the opening ceremony which will precede the opening match of the World Cup. Hosts Brazil will expect to get off to a winning start against a team that qualified through a play-off against Iceland. This should give fans an early indication of whether Neymar and Co can handle the pressure of a home tournament.

Spain v Netherlands (June 13 Salvador, 2000)

This repeat of the final from the 2010 World Cup is perhaps the most exciting game of the group stage. That match was decided by Andres Iniesta's extra-time winner, but it was perhaps best remembered for the brutal way Netherlands approached the game as they tried to literally kick Spain off the park. Will we see a repeat of those tactics? Either way, it's doubtful Howard Webb will want to officiate this one again.

Ivory Coast v Japan (14 June Recife, 2300)

The Africans will look to lay a marker down in their first match of the tournament, but Japan, containing Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa and Mainz’s Shinji Okazaki will be no pushovers.

England v Italy (June 15 Manaus, 0200)

England start their campaign with a daunting match against Italy. In the quarter-final at Euro 2012, Roy Hodgson's side managed to take them all the way to penalties - but justice was served when the Italians progressed. England haven't beaten them in five attempts.

Uruguay v England (June 19 Sao Paulo, 2000)

England's second match will be against Uruguay. The game may be six months away, but already there's little doubt that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will somehow manage to take centre stage. Whether it's for the right or wrong reasons we'll have to wait and see.

Switzerland v France (June 20 Salvador, 2000)

These European neighbours meet in a group which also contains Ecuador and Honduras. It's deemed the easiest of the eight but this game will be crucial to both sides' hopes of progressing. France have some incredible talent at their disposal with the likes of Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri among their options. They could be brilliant to watch - that is if they haven't all fallen out with each other by then.

Germany v Ghana (21 June Fortaleza, 2000)

The sibling rivalry between the Boateng brothers continues when Germany, featuring Jerome, and Ghana’s Kevin-Prince face off in the group stage. This fixture also took place in 2010 World Cup group stage – Germany won 1-0 thanks to a Mesut Ozil effort.

Nigera v Argentina (21 June Cuiaba, 2300)

The teams meet yet again. In the last World Cup, Argentina defeated Nigeria 1-0 in Johannesburg in their first Group match. Gabriel Heinze scored the only goal of the game then, but Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi et al will be aiming for a different result this time round.

Belgium v Russia (22 June Rio de  Janeiro, 2300)

Can Fabio Capello work his magic against the high-flying Belgians. Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne to name but a few will hope to make the former England head coach suffer.

USA v Germany (26 June Recife, 1700)

A case of divided loyalties for Jurgen Klinsmann, as the USA manager, takes on his home country. The legendary striker scored 38 goals in 80 appearances for Germany between 1990 and 1998. This time around, however, he only has eyes for the stars and stripes.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit