FIFA 2014 World Cup Draw: Brazil Kickoff Against Croatia, European Heavyweights Drawn in Difficult Groups

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By Deepak Vikraman | December 7, 2013 4:29 AM EST

Brazilian President Rousseff, FIFA President Blatter, actor Hilbert and model Lima stand on stage during a tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela at the draw for the 2014 World Cup. Reuters

Hosts Brazil will kickoff the 2014 World Cup with a tasty match against Croatia on 12 June as the 32 teams found out their groups in an exciting draw at Costa do Sauipe, Brazil on Friday.

Joining Brazil and Croatia in Group A are Mexico and Cameroon, leaving Luiz Felipe Scolari's men with a testing but relatively negotiable group to come through.

World champions Spain are in Group B, and a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final is on the cards in the group stages with Netherlands joining their fellow European side.

Chile and Australia will have to play out of their skins to find a way through to the knockout rounds at the expense of the two European heavyweights.

England, in Group D, find themselves in a tricky set with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. While Costa Rica are not expected to pose too many problems, one of Uruguay, Italy and England will miss out on the knockout rounds.

The other tough group is Group G with Germany having to negotiate a path through Portugal, Ghana and the USA.

US coach Jurgen Klinsmann comes up against his home country with whom he has won the World Cup, and coached them in the 2006 tournament. The match between Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side and Germany's talented stars promises to be a particularly enthralling one.

Argentina will begin their quest for a World Cup title on rival Brazilian soil with a match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the other two teams in Group F being Iran and Nigeria.

Former champions France, who scraped through to the finals courtesy a playoff victory against Ukraine, will be quite satisfied with their group that sees them drawn with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.

Draw: Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Cote d'Ivoire, 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

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