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Drogba v Falcao! Top 10 fixtures of the World Cup group stage

Chelsea strikers past and... future perhaps(?) go head to head in one of the ties of the round.

The groups are sorted and the fixtures have been released - but what are the top ten games of the group stage at next summer's World Cup? 

  1. Brazil v Croatia

    The opening game of the tournament will have a carnival-like atmosphere as Brazil play their first home World Cup game since 1950. June 12th is the date where the tournament will kick off, and whilst Brazil will feel they can overcome Niko Kovac's side, the Croatians possess quality with Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic, and this could be a potential banana skin for Luiz Felipe Scolari's men.

  2. Spain v Holland

    A repeat of the 2010 World Cup final, Spain and Holland face each other in the group stages this time. Whilst Spain have gone on to clinch the Euro 2012 title, Holland have regressed to the point where they didn't even get gain one point in the European Championships. The fiesty nature of that World Cup final - in which Nigel de Jong's karate kick on Xabi Alonso caused an uproar - could make this game tense.

  3. Spain v Chile

    Another game that was played at the 2010 World Cup, Spain will be hoping to do what England couldn't and see off a vibrant Chile side. Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez will be looking to put one over on his domestic team mates, whilst other La Liga stars such as goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and Bryan Rabello will also be motivated against some of the players they face on a weekly basis, making this a real test for Vicente del Bosque's Spain.

  4. Colombia v Ivory Coast

    This game sees two of the world's top strikers go head to head, as Falcao looks to continue his incredible goalscoring record and Didier Drogba has one last shot at World Cup glory. Colombia are a dark horse, possessing many talented players such as Jackson Martinez, Juan Cuadrado and James Rodriguez, whilst Ivory Coast are considered to be one of the better African sides, but have been given tough groups in their two previous World Cup campaigns. 

  5. England v Italy

    Two of the heavyweights of international football face off just two years after their Euro 2012 quarter final ended in an Italy win. Roy Hodgson's England aren't expected to compete, but the game will be fiercely competitive as The Three Lions seek revenge. The game will kick off at 2am UK time, which is already causing a mixture of excitement and despair.

  6. Italy v Uruguay

    The final matchday in Group D sees Italy take on Uruguay, and the outcome could shape qualification for the knockout stages. A number of Uruguayan players are based in Italy, such as Martin Caceres, Alvaro Pereira, Diego Perez and Abel Hernandez, and they will be hoping to disappoint their employers by clinching a win for Oscar Tabarez's side. The two sides met at the Confederations Cup, with Italy coming out on top in a penalty shootout.

  7. Argentina v Bosnia & Herzegovina

    Argentina have all the attacking talent anybody could want, with Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, and that's without even mentioning Lionel Messi, arguably the finest player on the planet. Bosnia have qualified for their first World Cup, and will be relying on Premier League stars Asmir Begovic and Edin Dzeko to help them progress. Bosnia certainly have a chance of beating Iran and Nigeria, they would have to spring a shock to beat Argentina.

  8. Germany v Portugal

    Another rematch from a recent tournament, after Germany and Portugal squared off at Euro 2012, with Mario Gomez clinching a 1-0 win for Joachim Loew's side. Germany are tipped to be a major contender to win the World Cup next summer, but Portugal are their main contenders in Group G. Spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal will want to give a good account of themselves in the opening match of the group.

  9. Germany v USA

    This game sees former Germany boss Jurgen Klinsmann go up against his former employers with USA, who are the rank outsiders in Group G. Klinsmann was one of the top German strikers of all time with 38 goals in 80 games, but he will have to forget his heritage and push for a surprise win for the US. This game takes place on the final matchday of the group, and could shape qualification.

  10. Belgium v Russia

    Finally, another dark horse in Belgium take on Fabio Cappelo's Russia. Full of Premier League talent with Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku to name but a few, Belgium need to prove that they can beat the better teams and Russia are by the far the toughest challenge for them in the group stage, with Algeria and South Korea unlikely to pose much of a threat.

images: © jonnyr1, © 3oheme, © manbeastextraordinaire

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