The Group Stages
Well, that's it all the Groups have been sorted out and the no-hopers, like England, Italy, Spain, etc., have been sent home.
I will leave all the previews and match reports, so you can have a look in days to come and see how accurate some of our predictions were.
It all starts to get very serious as from today. It's win or bust.
The Last 16 picture is starting to become clearer as the week rolls on and there are no shortages of shocks along the way.
Last night's elimination of Ivory Coast and it's stars by Greece, courtesy of a controversial injury time penalty, was no exception. And then there was the Suarez incident as well.
The last 16 looks like this so far :
- Brazil v Chile - 28.06.14 - Belo Horizonte - 5pm
- Columbia v Uruguay - 28.06.14 - Rio de Janeiro - 9pm
- Holland v Mexico - 29.06.14 - Fortaleza - 5pm
- Costa Rica v Greece - 29.06.14 - Recife - 9pm
The rest of the draw will not become clear until the last games on Thursday.
There are some good games in prospect tonight. Not least Nigeria v Argentina at 5pm and Ecuador v France at 9pm. We may even get to see Morgan Schneiderlin start for France.
Enjoy the games!
Today's games see the end of the second round of the Group Games, with two games in Group H, the key Belgium v Russia one at 5pm in Rio and South Korea v Algeria in Porto Alegre at 8pm. The late game is the Group G game of USA v Portugal in Manaus is at 11pm. Although I fancy the Belgians to beat the boring Russians and take the group, there have been too many upsets so far to take anything for granted.
I have taken some time out today to enjoy the sunshine, so the only game to have gone up in the last few hours has been skooba's report on the key Spain v Chile game from Group B. This resulted in the defending champions being dumped out.
Well, the Costa Rica team put England out of their misery last night, by doing what we were unable to do and beat a distinctly average Italy.
So, the England players and staff will be on a plane home right after the last game on Tuesday. At least Koeman will get to have that chat with Lallana and Shaw sooner, rather than later.
In the meantime the 2014 World Cup begins to gather some momentum, as we edge closer to the serious business of the knockout stages.
sotonian previews the 8pm game today :
Germany v Ghana
The very impressive Germany v the fighting spirit of Ghana, going to be an intriguing game. Historically Germany generally win their opening group match at World Cup finals, only to struggle in their second game. They have only won their second game twice in the last 8 World Cups.
World Cup history will be made in this game, Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng faces his brother, Germany's Jerome Boateng
I can't see anything but a German win, they have a slight doubt with the defender Hummels, but I am sure a highly efficient replacement is waiting in the wings,
I'm going for Germany 3 Ghana 0
Well, that was painful, but as sotonian pointed out this morning, England could still qualify on goal difference, providing we beat Costa Rica and Italy win both their two games.
Today in group D Italy play Costa Rica in the 5pm game.
In group E, France play Switzerland the winners will go through if there is a draw in the Honduras v Ecuador game.
Last night's Japan v Greece draw means that Columbia joined the teams through to the knock out stages.
It's worth mentioning that Maya Yoshida had a good game for Japan. I wonder if Ronald was watching him?
Well, sotonian was right, but what a shock, Spain were the ones to fall at the first hurdle. They were soundly beaten by Chile, who looked a very good side.
So, we turn to this evening and a massive game for England. I will be digging out my England survival kit a friend gave me for my recent birthday. She put together a box of very decent beers, together with some peanuts and a giant inflatable hand. I am sure I will make use of the hand to point at Rooney. 'You useless c.....'.
Last night's games should be up around teatime, corespondents' willing. I had a technical issue with my report on Russsia v South Korea and it took me most of the evening to solve. Maybe it was the KGB objecting to me being so rude about Russia. Anyway, all solved now.
Enjoy the games today.
Well, that was my first late night to do a report and I am feeling the worse for wear this morning. The Russia v S. Korea game wasn't exactly inspiring. I also watched the early game, Belgium v Algeria and that report is up on the IBO site already. Spot's report on the 8pm kick off game of Brazil v Mexico and my report on the late game will be up later this afternoon/evening.
Today we have an interesting situation. Sotonian has pointed out that if the stars align we will potentially be seeing a couple of teams unable to get beyond the group stage.
We could well see 3 Nations go out today
If Netherlands and Chille both win today, Australia and Spain both go out,
Later on this evening if one of Croatia or Cameroon lose, they will also be out
Well, all the match reports on the first two games in each of Groups A through to Group E are now up on the site together with a very fast starting sotonian's report on the Germany v Portugal game. The two Group F games will be up later this morning.
Tonight it will be my turn to cover the opening two games in Group H and by tomorrow we will have a very good idea of the teams to feature in the later stages.
To my mind, the last team to watch out for will be the Belgians, who take on Algeria in the first of today's games. I think they are very much a case of, if they 'click' they will be very good, but it is very much a case of 'IF'.
Today's second game will be the return of the hosts Brazil, who play Mexico. I will be skipping that game, having watched the early game and having to watch the late game as well. I will have to catch up by reading Spot's coverage the next morning.
Enjoy the matches and I hope the variety of different writers on here are entertaining you and giving you some food for thought.
We are now well into the swing of things here now and I have just about caught up with all the match reports. At the time of writing I am just missing Tone's coverage of Columbia v Greece and Ivory Coast v Japan, but as he was playing in his band on Saturday night in London and the second game did not start until 2am on Sunday morning, I feel he can be cut some slack!
Please take the time to have a look at jickster's first two reports on Switzerland v Ecuador and France v Honduras, which were produced faster than a magician's rabbit from a hat. Click here to find them
In the meantime we have another mini-preview from sotonian following on from his tips for the much anticipated clash between Germany and Ronaldo! This time it is for the probably un-fancied Ghana v USA Game :
Ghana v USA
Monday 16th June 11pm at Estadio das Dunas
Since I've been reading up on this group, this is a game I'm really looking forward to. Both teams will go into this game seeking a win, a draw is probably not going to be that good for either country, Ghana have beaten USA 2-1 on both of there previous World Cup campaigns.
USA manager Klinsmann has caused a big stir by leaving Landon Donovan out of the squad, although they have 8 players with premier league experience I really can't see beyond a Ghana win.
The player I'm looking forward to seeing is Ghana's Captain Asamoah Gyan, he needs just one goal to become Ghana's all time top goal scorer, in the last couple of years, at club level he is averaging over a goal per game, they also have Essien and Kevin prince boateng, I feel they will have too much for USA, but with so much at stake, the score is going to be close
I'm going for another Ghana 2 USA 1
Today's Games :
- 17:00 Germany v Portugal (Group G)
- 20:00 Iran v Nigeria (Group F)
- 23:00 Ghana v USA (Group G)
Well, England's opening game came and went last night with a 2-1 loss to Italy
Don't forget to click on the 'England 1-2 Italy' tab!
Then there was the lacklustre performance of Uruguay, who were comprehensively beaten by a deserving Costa Rica (Nice shirt BTW!). Spot's report will be up shortly.
In the meantime Sotonian suggests a Group G match to look out for on Monday :
Germany v Portugal
- being played at Arena Fonte Nova Salvador 5pm Monday 16th June
Germany have won their opening game in every World Cup since 1990.
Neuer who is possibly the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment, is due a fitness test on a shoulder injury, Arsenals trio of Mertesacker, Ozil and Podolski, along with Lahm of Bayern Munich are probably the stand out players, but I'm struggling to find a real weakness,
From the bench they will have Klose who is just one goal away from being the all time top World Cup scorer
Portugal - sweating on their Ronaldo being fit, he's so key to everything Portugal do. They have another injury doubt to Pepe of Real Madrid, so there are basically doubts on their best two players,
So how can Portugal win this? For me Portugal will need to gain control of midfield, they have Moutinho, Nani, Meireles and Veloso, who if on top of there game could hold the superb German Midfield, look out for the promising young midfielder Carvalho coming off the bench
My prediction- Germany to win 3-1
Some Great Games Already
The Spain v Netherlands game in particular was worthy of a match from a later stage.
We have reports from Spot51 on the Brazil v Croatia game and Skooba on the Spain v Netherlands game up on the IBO World Cup site already. The links are on the Group A (for Brazil v Croatia) and Group B (for Spain v Netherlands) tabs above.
Right, ready for England v Italy, 11pm tonight?
Brazil 3-1 Croatia
Well, that's it. The 2014 World Cup is underway at last and it was a hell of a match to start with. A slow burner, it came to life with an own goal and from that moment on it was end to end stuff.
I had mixed feelings about Dejan Lovren conceding a penalty, but we will see what Spot has to say about the game shortly.
Watch this space!
12th June 2014
With the late addition of Skooba's Group B, the Previews are all complete.
So, now we look forward to the kick-off with Brazil v Croatia at 9pm BST on Thursday evening, when our own Dejan Lovren will have the task of trying to stop the Brazilian forwards scoring. No pressure then.
7th June 2014
One more group and then we wait for the start of the competition. Things will happen thick and fast then, with some games kicking off at the same time. Rest assured that the IBO team will remain on top of things though.
The IBO site will be a point of reference, from spot's background on Brazil, the comprehensive briefing on the different cities and stadia that the games will take place in, to the various group previews.
Exciting isn't it!
7th June 2014
Possibly a one horse race, but Baz has a couple of tips to watch out for.
6th June 2014
Group D is covered by Batts. As well as being the group England are in, there are also Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Group E, or the group of shit, as Jickster calls it, features France, Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.
5th June 2014
The first the host's Group A, which includes Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico. It strikes me that this group might get just a bit tasty. Obviously Saints fans will be closely watching Dejan Lovren in the Croatia side. Click on the Group A tab above to read spot51's preview and prediction.
Group C also has Saints interest, with Maya Yoshida appearing for Japan. The other teams in this group are Columbia, Greece and Ivory Coast. Click on the Group C tab above to read OneBeat's preview and predictions.
The other groups will follow over the next few days.
4th June 2014