Hosts Brazil drew a group that may be more challenging than expected. Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon round out Group A, and none of the three will be pushovers when they play the reigning Confederations Cup champions.
The Brazilians boast a strong squad and will be looking to add another World Cup trophy to the already loaded trophy case. Easily one of the favorites, the host nation will look to starlets Neymar, Oscar, Lucas Moura and Leandro Damião to lead them to the title.
Croatia are 16th in the world and will pose a threat to anyone it faces. Real Madrid’s Luka Modric will play the role of maestro and orchestrate the team from the No. 10 role. Mario Mandzukic, Eduardo and Nikica Jelavic are proven goal scorers that can cause issues for defenses. The Blazers will be looking to advance to their first knockout stage appearance since 1998.
After sneaking in to the World Cup, Mexico will be out to prove it belonged in Brazil all along. After the coaching carousel finally stopped and Miguel Herrera was selected, El Tri can finally focus on 2014 and put together the pieces to make a deep run. Giovani dos Santos, Javier Hernández and Oribe Peralta can score goals and a deep midfield behind them will provide them with many chances.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will have their hands full in all three matches of the group stage. Beating Tunisia to secure a spot in Brazil, Cameroon has the talent to upset a team or two and make a shock appearance in the knockout stages, something that hasn’t happened since 1990. Veteran strikers Samuel Eto’o and Pierre Webó have over 70 international goals between them. Midfielders Jean Makoun, Alexandre Song and Stépahne Mbia will look to find the two strikers to add to their scoring record. Defensive rocks Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Nicolas N’Koulou and Aurélien Chedjou will cause opposing strikers problems as well.