The draw may drag on with its ceremonial carry-on, but once the actual drawing of pots is completed, there is certainly no shortage of talking points.
At first glance there is a immediate jostle between Group B and Group D for the coveted title of the Group of Death, with the latter featuring a greater spread of quality across the four teams - England v Italy in particular arguably the most high-profile dual-European affair in the group stage - but the former including the two finalists from the 2010 World Cup, along with Chile, one of the most exciting and up and coming national teams. B, in particular, features four sides that all play possession-based systems, meaning it should also create the most attractive, attacking games of the group stage.
At the other end of the spectrum there is also a battle for the weakest group between Group E and Group H. France will be delighted by the relative ease of which they should progress but given the country's penchant for self-destruction at recent international tournaments what appears a poor group on paper could well turn into one of the more fascinating. Likewise for H, which features no outstanding side but a cluster of middle-range teams, although Belgium and Russia will both fancy their chances of finishing top.
Elsewhere, the draw threw up plenty of plot lines. The USA's group appears something of a reunion. Ghana and Germany were also paired together in the group stage at the last tournament, and Ghana, of course, were America's opponents in that memorable Round of 16 clash in South Africa. Even without Portugal Group G would have been fascinating but the inclusion of the European side -- who boast arguably the tournament's most decisive player, Cristiano Ronaldo -- takes the group dynamic to another level.
Many are claiming this is the strongest pool of teams ever at a World Cup and casting a eye across the other groups it is hard to argue. There are a host of tantalising matches that should provide plentiful entertainment. Bosnia, at their first ever World Cup, will take on Argentina who rather ominously have been placed in a group that means a potential Maracana final against the hosts is certainly likely. Brazil, meanwhile, will be pleased with the challenge presented by their opponents, with an opening round fixture against Croatia a fantastic way to launch the tournament.
Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica, England
Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bosnia
Germany, Ghana, USA, Portugal