Want to know more about the World Cup? The Man Cave has you covered!
It's difficult to keep up to date with all 32 teams competing in this year's World Cup and, with that in mind, we've prepared an alphabetical guide to each and every team. Want to impress your mates down the pub with your footballing knowledge? Read on, dear friends. If you missed our first two parts check 'em out here and here.
Where: Group D with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica
Need to Know: England approach this World Cup with only a fraction of the expectation they have had on the shoulders in recent tournaments, with the general consensus being that anything after qualifying for the second round would be a bonus. Roy Hodgson's camp has enjoyed a relatively scandal-free introduction to Brazil 2014 with a healthy squad of players, all of whom have their metatarsals intact. Might this just be the underdog atmosphere England need to thrive in this World Cup?
Being England, something contentious is bound to happen during the tournament to incite a tabloid feeding frenzy back home. Be it a soft sending off, a disallowed goal or a nail-biting penalty shootout, you can bet your house on the fact that England will be central to this year's World Cup and whether this will be purely for footballing reasons remains to be seen.
On the pitch England have a fairly well balanced squad of players - but not without their limitations. Defensive players Glen Johnson, Joe Hart and Phil Jagielka might represent an overly-porous resistance if and when they get to the latter stages of the tournament while, at the other end, they'll be relying on the declining talents of Wayne Rooney and the 12-times capped Daniel Sturridge to provide the goals. The quarter finals seem like the best the Three Lions can hope for.
One to Watch: Raheem Sterling emerged last season as not only one of the brightest talents in England but also as one of the best young players in Europe. If opposition defences are too concerned with limited the space of compatriots Rooney and Sturridge, that just might leave that little bit of daylight needed for Sterling to shine. If England have a good tournament this year you can bet that the 19-year-old Liverpool player will be involved.
France's Paul Pogba | WENN
Where: Group E in the company of Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras
Need to Know: France are one of the enigmas of world football. French football fans have been through the wringer in recent years, stuttering between the exceptional and the horrid - and sometimes both in the same game. Such is the magnitude their inconsistencies it would be equally believable for France to get to the final or crash out in the group stage.
France's attacking flair has been severely dulled by the withdrawal of one of the world's best players Franck Ribery prior to the beginning of the tournament. This isn't just a blow to French hopes; it's also disappointing news for neutrals the world over as we'll be deprived of the world class talents of the Bayern Munich man and France will look to the likes of Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann and Yohan Cabaye to fill the conspicuous Ribery-shaped hole in the French starting eleven.
In spite of possessing some of the best young players in world football, particularly in their back line, this isn't nearly as strong a French team as the side who won the 1998 World Cup on home soil. With only four players over the 40 cap mark, France's youngsters will gain some invaluable experience on the biggest of stages and, while France can beat almost anyone on their day, you'd forgive them for casting glances towards World Cup 2018 where they'll surely a much more potent threat.
One to Watch: Allowing the teenage Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United for Juventus on a free transfer will go down as one of the biggest mistakes Alex Ferguson ever made in his Old Trafford tenure. Two season into his Turin stay, Pogba's market value has been quoted at somewhere in the region €80 million and he has been described by those in the know as the best midfield prospect in the last twenty years. The World Cup, though, is the stage for hype to become reality and let's hope that French coach Didier Deschamps has emphasised this point to the mercurially talented Pogba.
Germany's Thomas Muller | WENN
Where: Group G in the company of Portugal, United States and Ghana
Need to Know: Irish fans will be all too aware of the potency of the German attack after they put nine goals past us in the qualifying stages but with all time top scorer Miroslav Klose now in his 36th year, will Germany be able to transplant their free scoring form in the qualifiers to the World Cup proper?
Coach Joachim Low has taken something of a calculated risk by bringing just two recognised strikers with him to Brazil (Klose and Arsenal's Lukas Podolski), meaning that a few injuries or suspensions could neuter his side's goalscoring potential but he does have one of the most stacked midfields to fall back on.
From top to bottom this German side is filled with superstars and with nearly half the squad coming from Germany's top two sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, a lack of teamwork and familiarity certainly won't be an issue. Germany have traditionally always been among the heavyweights of global football and with this side arguably being their best in many a moon they have to be considered as serious contenders. You'll see them at the semi-finals, at the very least.
One to Watch: Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller will win his 50th cap at just 24 years of age when he steps out on to the field for Germany's opening match/group decider against Portugal on June 16th. The attacking midfielder is incredibly comfortable with the ball at his feet and has an uncanny knack of appearing in the box at just the right moment to finish off an attacking move with either foot or his head and has graduated to become one of the vital cogs in the German machine.
Ghana's Asamoah Gyan celebrates with teammates | WENN
Where: Group G alongside Portugal, United States and Germany
Need to Know: Ghana approach this World Cup still with a bad taste in their mouth owing to their controversial elimination at the quarter-final stage in South Africa four years ago by Uruguay, when some gamesmanship from Luis Suarez cost them a place in the semis. It's just a pity for them that they've wound up being placed in the company of Germany and Portugal, both of whom will be hotly tipped to finish in the Group G's two qualifying places.
The Ghanaian squad this time around still contains numerous members of the 2010 party, ensuring that the bitterness they experienced last time around will serve as the most primal of motivators but even the most ardent of Black Stars supporters would admit that it would be a huge feat for Ghana to escape their group. Still, a big win over the United States and a draw against either of the group's big boys could make the Group G final table very interesting but, even with that, they'll be relying on a few other results going their way.
One to Watch: There is a nice mix of youth and experience in the Ghanaian with recognisable names like Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Kwadwo Asamoah and Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng bringing impressive resumes to the tournament but it's Chelsea's young winger Christian Atsu who might make the biggest impression of all. Atsu spent last season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands and was subsequently named by the club as their player of the season as they just missed out on the Dutch title.
If you enjoyed this, why not check out these articles too: