Five must-watch World Cup games from the group stages
1. Brazil vs Croatia - Group A. June 12, 17:00 local time. June 13, 01:30 IST.
The most successful team in the history of the tournament plays the opening game of this edition in their own backyard. Need we say more?
2. Spain vs The Netherlands - Group B. June 13, 16:00 local time. June 14, 00:30 IST.
The last time these two sides met in the World Cup, Andres Iniesta broke the deadlock in the 117th minute. And the reward: Spain lifted the World Cup for the first time. A rematch of the final from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, this Group B encounter is surely an early blockbuster.
3. Argentina vs Bosnia and Herzegovina - Group F. June 15, 19:00 local time. June 16, 03:30 IST.
A European country has never won a World Cup when it has been hosted in South American soil. No one is saying that Bosnia and Herzegovina is going to break that record, but it would be interesting to see how this World Cup's only debutant cope against the mighty Argentines. Not to mention, Lionel Messi would be itching to perform in the game's greatest stage.
4. Germany vs Portugal - Group G. June 16, 13:00 local time. June 16, 21:30 IST.
It was cruel that Portugal and Sweden were pitted against each other in the playoff. For it is hard for any football fan to choose between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ronaldo had his way in the end and that means that he will be there to lead Portugal in Brazil. The Ballon d'Or winner will be up against it in their group opener against Germany, one of the most efficient and consistent teams in the tournament.
5. Uruguay vs England - Group D. June 19, 16:00 local time. June 20, 00:30 IST.
Every game in a group that comprises Uruguay, Costa Rica, England and Italy has to be a must-watch game. What tilts the balance in this match's favour are the sub-plots. The second group game for both these teams in the tournament, the outcome of this match might well shape the fate of these countries. This match would also see Luis Suarez, who has broken down defences in the English Premier League at will all year, play against the country that has almost become his home. Will he fully recover from his injury by then? We will have to wait for the kick off.