World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil have been drawn in an interesting Group A. They are set to play an erratic but potentially excellent Croatia and an even more unpredictable Mexico. Cameroon are the fourth team in this draw, though it's hard to see them causing an upset. As hosts, Brazil get the tournament underway against Croatia in São Paulo on June 12. Excitement!
No pressure, Luiz Felipe Scolari. You've only got the weight of a nation on your shoulders. Hosts Brazil head into the tournament as favorites, not least after they romped to Confederations Cup success earlier this year, blitzing reigning world champions Spain in the final. They're a team stacked with quality from back to front, with world-class defenders Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Dante all competing over two centre-back slots, and the small matter of Barcelona's wonderkid Neymar weaving his magic in attack. With crazed home crowds behind them, it's going to be very hard to stop Brazil.
Going through: Croatia
Croatia are often touted as dark horses in major international competitions, and with good reason. On paper they are a strong side, with the likes of Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić and Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukić among their star players. They unfortunately also have a tendency to be highly erratic, and only just squeezed past Iceland in a playoff to qualify for this tournament. However, you'd expect them to make it through to the knockout stages at a minimum.
Mexico are just about the most unpredictable team in the World Cup; a true unknown quantity with manager Miguel Herrera having only just taken charge. They certainly have some talent in their squad -- with the most notable being Manchester United striker Javier Hernández -- and could have more quality up front if Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela ends up on the plane to Brazil. They've unfortunately been drawn in a group with two good teams, though they certainly have the potential to upset Croatia.
Dead Last: Cameroon
Cameroon were extremely underwhelming at the last World Cup, failing to challenge at all despite high hopes before the tournament. They'll hope for much better this time around, though it's hard to see it in such a competitive group. They'll be praying that star player and all-time top scorer Samuel Eto'o is firing on all cylinders, though he's unlikely to be able to do enough to carry Les Lions Indomptables through to the knockout stages.
Best Player: Neymar
Brazil's Neymar may still only be 21, but he's undoubtedly one of the best players in the world. He's a magical attacker, and earned a massive move to Barcelona from his boyhood club Santos earlier this year. He's shown no sign of being fazed by international pressure so far, and won the player of the tournament award at this year's Confederations Cup. Deployed out on the left of Scolari's system, look for him cutting inside and creating havoc among opposition defenses -- and almost certainly netting a few goals.
Emerging Star: Mateo Kovačić
Croatia's Mateo Kovačić is 19 and only picked up his first international cap this year, though he's already gone on to make seven appearances for his country. Currently plying his trade at Inter Milan, he's a central midfield playmaker with the potential to become one of the world's best. It'll be hugely interesting to see how he fares under the spotlight at this tournament.
Must-Watch Game: Brazil vs. Croatia
Quite simply, the atmosphere at this game will be incredible. It's the tournament opener on June 12, and it's between the two best teams in this group. If the Confederations Cup -- essentially a glorified preseason friendly tournament -- can stir as much emotion among the Brazilian fans as it did, then just imagine what the World Cup will do ...