Belgium and Russia should be able to progress through to the knockout stages pretty comfortably, having been drawn alongside South Korea and Algeria. This game gets underway on June 17 in Belo Horizonte, with Belgium facing Algeria. Good luck, Les Fennecs -- you'll probably need it.
Belgium are the hipster choice du jour, and it's no surprise. They're a team stacked with some of the finest young footballing talent in the world. Chelsea's Eden Hazard is probably just about the best attacking midfielder in England, though he's only one piece of Belgium's jigsaw. Strikers Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke are their best players up front, while Marouane Fellaini adds Premier League steel in midfield. In defence, captain and Manchester City centre-back Vincent Kompany is the pick of yet more elite players. They're not a dark horse: they're a serious contender.
Going through: Russia
Since Fabio Capello took charge, Russia have undergone something of a revamp, with the experienced Italian coach involving more inexperienced domestic players in his squad. Things, on the whole, have gone well for Russia, with them managing to edge out Portugal for top spot in qualifying. They're not an elite squad by any means, though having been fortunate with the draw, they should be able to progress to the knockout stages.
Out: South Korea
South Korea are an interesting team, and one of the most unrecognizable for fans of European football. The vast majority of their squad is drawn from the Korean domestic league, and could be one of the youngest in the entire tournament. Given how easy Asian qualifying is, it's difficult to judge how they'll fare when it comes to the world stage. While they shouldn't have enough to progress to the knockout stages, they'll be expecting a win over Algeria.
Dead Last: Algeria
Algeria's team could very well be described as France's C team. Many of their players were born in said country, and, unfortunately for Algeria, were never going to make it to Les Bleus' first team in a million years. However, they do have some promising young talent in their ranks, including Inter Milan duo Saphir Taïder and Ishak Belfodil. It almost definitely won't be enough to see them edge out either Belgium or Russia, though they will hope to pick up a result against South Korea.
Best Player: Eden Hazard
Before he made the move from Lille to Chelsea last season, Hazard was one of the most sought-after players in the world. This season he's proving why, with a string of brilliant domestic performances for the Blues. Capable of playmaking through the middle or out wide, he'll be difficult for any opponent to shut down.
Emerging Star: Saphir Taider
Algeria's box-to-box midfielder Saphir Taider made a big move from Bologna to Inter Milan this summer, and has been so far a regular face in the Italian giants' team. Supposedly subject to interest from Manchester United before his transfer, he'll no doubt be a regular in Algeria's starting 11. A tireless runner and great tackler, his work isn't the most glamorous, but if you keep an eye out, you should see quite how valuable it can be.
Must-Watch Game: Belgium vs. Russia
Because it's between the two best sides in the group. Obviously.