Get your wall charts ready, put in a leave request at work, and get checking those World Cup 2014 odds because we now know who will play who in Brazil!
The draw for a major tournament is never the most exciting of processes with long winded speeches, overblown ‘entertainment’ and irrelevant local celebrities, but it’s a means to an end and fans from 32 countries can now become to mull over their team’s prospects.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter took another opportunity to make himself the centre of attention, and entered with a lady on each arm before taking his place on the stage.
Pic via @ESPNFC
There was a moment of silence as people paid their respects to renowned sports fan Neslon Mandela who sadly passed away yesterday, before the global audience was forced to endure seemingly endless montages and musical performances.
“Real Ronaldo” made an appearance alongside “Brazuca”, the official matchball of the 2014 World Cup, and it was hard to tell which of the two is rounder.
A host of former superstars including Zinedine Zidane, Fabio Cannavaro, Mario Kempes, Cafu and Geoff Hurst were called upon to go through the mundane drawing of the balls.
At least hostess Fernanda Lima was easy on the eye.
Proceedings finally got underway in terms of deciding the groups and fixtures, which unsurprisingly took a lot less time to complete than the fluff before it.
It wouldn’t be a World Cup without the token “Group of Death”, and this year is no different with Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the USA pitted against each other in Group G.
England will take on Premier League top scorer Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica, while Australia face an almost impossible task to get out of a group with Spain, the Netherlands and Chile.
France, who scraped into the tournament via the playoffs, will no doubt be licking their lips at the prospect of taking on Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.
Bosnia and Herzegovina are playing in their first World Cup and even though they will take on Argentina in their opening game, the talented squad has a great chance of progressing to the knockout stages ahead of both Nigeria and Iran.
Brazil should top Group A given they have home advantage, and would leave an intriguing battle for second spot between three teams from three different continents – Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon.
While there is no real stand out side in Group C, it could end up being one of the tightest and most intriguing with some very evenly matched sides Colombia, Greece, Cote d’Ivoire and Japan.
Every hipster’s favourite country, and that probably isn’t an exaggeration, is Belgium and being a first seed has done them plenty of favours in Group H.
Here’s the draw in full:
Bosnia and Herzegovina