5 MINUTE GUIDE

June 09, 2014

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GROUP A

Brazil

Croatia

Mexico

Cameroon

GROUP B

Spain

Netherlands

Chile

Australia

GROUP C

Colombia

Greece

Ivory Coast

Japan

GROUP D

Uruguay

Costa Rica

England

Italy

GROUP E

Switzerland

Ecuador

France

Honduras

GROUP F

Argentina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Iran

Nigeria

GROUP G

Germany

Portugal

Ghana

United States

GROUP H

Belgium

Algeria

Russia

South Korea

GRANT WAHL'S BRACKET

A1 Brazil

B2 Chile

C1 Colombia

D2 Italy

E1 France

F2 Nigeria

G1 Germany

H2 South Korea

B1 Spain

A2 Croatia

D1 Uruguay

C2 Japan

F1 Argentina

E2 Ecuador

H1 Belgium

G2 Portugal

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SAY GOODBYE TO...

JABULANI

Official 2010 ball was deemed unpredictable; blamed for goal drought, swerving shots, poverty, famine, etc.

VUVUZELA

South African noisemaker of choice looked like a mini-alpenhorn, sounded like the world's largest traffic jam. Eardrums were ruptured.

PAUL THE OCTOPUS

Allegedly psychic cephalopod correctly called 11 of 13 matches in RSA—then died three months after nailing the final.

DISAPPEARING GOALS

Crucial score by England's Frank Lampard against Germany in South Africa got waved off; FIFA's Sepp Blatter was compelled to apologize.

"WAKA WAKA"

Catchy Shakira anthem: People are raising/Their expectations/Go on and feed them /This is your moment/No hesitations

NORTH KOREA

Kim Jung Il's squad, ranked No. 105 by FIFA, went pointless, scoring one goal and ceding 12, including a howler off Cristiano Ronaldo's back.

SAY HELLO TO...

BRAZUCA

Official 2014 ball has its own Twitter account and hashtag, #ballin. What could possibly go wrong?

CAXIROLA

Brazilian alternative looks like a Fisher-Price grenade, sounds like a rain stick. They'll be handed out at games.

MINI-MERV THE HAMSTER...

... And friends. The list of pet prognosticators already includes Max the Lemur and a pair of Chinese pandas.

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

GoalControl-4D, with its 14 cameras, will solve scoring disputes. Also: Refs will use a foam spray to paint lines on free kicks, halting encroachers.

"WE ARE ONE"

Cheesy Pitbull and J.Lo anthem: When the moment gets tough/The tough get going/One love, one life, one world

AUSTRALIA

Stuck in supertough Group B, the Socceroos are already sunk—so say the bookmakers, who have this year's lowest-ranked team (No. 59) at 2,500-to-1 to win it all.

AGAINST ALL ODDS

SI's completely unofficial, sort of scientific prop bets for 2014

2.75/1

Brazil, the favorite, wins the World Cup, based on the odds at SkyBet.com.

2,500/1

Costa Rica, Australia or Iran wins it all; they're the joint long shots.

12/1

Iran beats Argentina or Cameroon beats Brazil, marking the Cup's biggest upset.

2/1

England misses a given spot kick in a shootout, if it comes to that, based on its past three World Cup shootouts—all losses.

18/1

Germany misses a given spot kick, based on its past four World Cup shootouts—all wins.

12.5/1

A Brazilian with more than one name on his jersey back (e.g., Thiago Silva, not Oscar) scores a goal, based on the past year of friendlies.

2/1

Snakebitten England midfielder Jack Wilshere misses at least one game to injury, based on his history of knocks.

3/1

U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones is sent off at least once in Brazil, based on a pretty good hunch.

2/1

Jones and the Americans lose to Ghana once again, based solely on the fact that these things tend to happen. (Cue sad trombone.)

1/1

ESPN's Ian Darke says, "Could've used Donovan there" at least once during that game's broadcast.

4/1

Spain defender Sergio Ramos alters his hairstyle during the tournament, based on his ever-changing carousel of coifs.

3/1

Theatrical Italian striker Mario Balotelli cries on camera at least once, based on the surprising amount of time that has passed since Balo last publicly blubbered.

2/1

A player blames a goal on this year's official ball, the Brazuca, because, Why not?

1/1

A player breaks Mexican coach Miguel Herrera's ban on sexual relations while in Brazil, based on—well, come on.

JOHNNYS ON THE SPOT

Over the eight World Cups since shootouts were introduced, at least one semifinalist each year has had to survive them, including half of the winners since 1982. With the game on the line, here's whom you do and don't want taking spot kicks in Brazil.

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Eden Hazard

BELGIUM

The Belgians' apparent go-to penalty guy has hit a perfect 15 of his last 15 PK attempts for Lille and Chelsea. No one in the world can touch that.

Lionel Messi

ARGENTINA

His sick conversion rate (25 of 27, or 92.6%) means that if he gets to the penalty spot, he's a shoo-in for what would be—shocker—just his second World Cup goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo

PORTUGAL

The last man the U.S. wants taking freebies on June 22, Ronaldo, with his smashing approach, tops Europe with 36 club PK goals (on 39 takes) over the past five years.

Steven Gerrard

ENGLAND

The Brits have a history of flubbing spot kicks, but Gerrard was money for Liverpool in 2013--14, bagging 10 of 11. (The lone miss was his third try that day; every goalie gets lucky once.)

Mario Balotelli

ITALY

His stutter-step approach drives keepers mad (he's 14 of 16), making him a vital weapon for a national team that has both won (2006) and lost (1994) Cup finals in shootouts.

Edinson Cavani

URUGUAY

Among players with at least 15 attempts, no one has missed more. (He's 19 of 27.) Apparently he learns from the worst: Teammate Diego Forlan shoots just 42.9% (3 of 7).

Clint Dempsey

UNITED STATES

Before leaving Europe for MLS last August he shot just 50%. And his two U.S. PKs in qualifiers were foul: right at Costa Rica's GK (a deflected goal) and into the stands against Mexico.

*Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com based on the past five seasons in Europe's top five leagues.

FANCY MEETING YOU HERE

RONALDO VS GERMANY

The U.S.'s June 26 date with Germany in Recife may boast the richest World Cup story line—coach J√ºrgen Klinsmann leads the Yanks against the national team he carried to the 1990 title (the German word for traitor, by the way, is verr√§ter)—but these secondary plotlines are still plenty juicy.

CRISTIANO RONALDO / VS / GERMANY'S BACK LINE

The reigning World Player of the Year took on Germany's defense at Euro 2012 and came up empty in a 1--0 loss. In a June 16 game that has major implications for the U.S.'s survival, the likes of Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm will have a tough time repeating that clean sheet against a guy who averaged more than a goal per game for Real Madrid each of the past four seasons.

SPAIN / VS / NETHERLANDS

Holland won't have to wait long to try to avenge its loss in the 2010 South Africa final: The winner of their Day 2 rematch (June 13) becomes the favorite to win supertough Group B. The loser likely gets stuck playing Brazil in the knockout stage.

URUGUAY / VS / BRAZIL

The first time in Brazil that the South American rivals could replay the most shocking upset in World Cup history—1950, Uruguay winning it all in front of 174,000 stunned Sele√ß√£o supporters—is July 4 in Fortaleza. Tickets sold out ages ago.

LUIS SUÁREZ / VS / THE ENGLISH MEDIA

Juicy as in bloody. As in, the Brits haven't forgotten the Uruguayan striker's biting incident with Liverpool in the English Premier League last year, or the racism allegations against him, or his infinite flops. For his part, the player has claimed the English media tried to run him out of the EPL. Uruguay meets England on June 19.

MARC WILMOTS / VS / HONG MYUNG-BO

Group H foes Belgium and South Korea have met on this stage before, playing to a 1--1 draw at World Cup '98. Back then Wilmots was a Belgian midfielder and Myung-Bo was a Korean sweeper tasked with stopping him. On June 26 they'll be calling the shots from opposing touchlines, as managers.

HEY, I KNOW THAT GUY

How do you judge a domestic league's growth? Representation at the World Cup is a good place to start—and in Brazil you'll see more MLS talent than ever before, with 10 players on the U.S. roster and a record 10 on foreign sides.

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MLS PLAYERS ON WORLD CUP ROSTERS

France 1998

19

Korea-Japan 2002

11

Germany 2006

15

South Africa 2010

6

Brazil 2014

20

POP QUIZ

Game of Thrones character? Or World Cup participant?

A Granit Xhaka

B Xaro Xhoan Daxos

C Sandor Clegane

D Gökhan Inler

E Xherdan Shaqiri

F Jaqen H'ghar

G Blerim Dzemaili

H Hizdahr zo Loraq

Key: B, C, F and H are GoT characters; A, D, E and G play for Switzerland

Spanish-language pop star? Or World Cup participant?

A Paulinho

B Bebe

C Maxwell

D Joselito

E Braulio

F Conchita

G Marcelo

H Jô

Key: B, D, E and F are pop stars; A, C, G and H play for Brazil

GOLDEN BOYS

SI plotted the favorites to win the Golden Boot, awarded to the top scorer in Brazil, by weighing performance for club and country

Based on club/qualifying goals compared with league/group leader

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CLUB FORM

Diego Costa ESP

La Liga's No. 3 scorer will fill Spain's striker spot, which yields goals. Just ask Fernando Torres.

Thomas Müller GER

What reigning Boot winner's midfield cohorts giveth in assists, they can also taketh for themselves.

Mario Mandzukic CRO

Tied for goals lead at Euro '12 without playing a knockout match, but needs to work fast again: He's out for the opener.

Sergio Aguero ARG

Obstacles: Higuain, Messi and a touchy groin that cost him much of his club season.

Cristiano Ronaldo POR

Top scorer in Spain needs an uncharacteristically deep Cup run to be a factor in this race.

Luis Suàrez URU

Uruguay's primed for a deep run. Biggest threat to CONMEBOL's top scorer in qualifying? Teammate Edinson Cavani.

Gonzalo Higuain ARG

Argentina will need its second-leading scorer in qualifying to pick up the slack if Messi slumps.

Lionel Messi ARG

Oddsmakers must know something we don't. He's scored only one Cup goal, yet he's the favorite at 7 to 1.

NATIONAL FORM

Robin van Persie NED

Scored 11 qualifying goals, and Dutch are perennial contenders. But RVP once again enters a Cup coming off long injury layoff.

Felipe Caicedo ECU

Hipster Boot pick chased CONMEBOL big boys with seven qualifying goals. Advancement won't come easy, but he could beat up on Honduras early on.

Neymar BRA

Local favorite has the advantage of having rested often this season with Barcelona.

Romelu Lukaku BEL

Thrived after strike partner Christian Benteke went down: four goals in two warmup friendlies.

Eden Hazard BEL

Contender if he scores for his country as he does for Chelsea. That wasn't the case in qualifying.

Fred BRA

Quiet since '13 Confed Cup, he'd be the first Boot winner in 52 years from a club outside Europe.

FRESH PRINCES

Looking for a spoiler? Picking a South American team in the sweltering Brazil heat is one way to go. But also consider freshness as a factor.

Spain, for example, is stacked with stars from top European clubs—but that means almost all of them played during their teams' respective domestic and international cup tournaments. That adds up to a whole lot of minutes and niggling injuries. The starters on Group B foe Australia, by comparison, had an easy go of it; most play in the domestic A-League (which has a shorter-than-normal season) or on middling foreign clubs that see little cup action. The Socceroos are long shots to beat Spain on June 23 in Curitiba (SkyBet.com has them at 8 to 1), but they have the type of edge that's worth considering in every game.

Based on projected starters

SPAIN 3470

AUSTRALIA 2502

AVERAGE MINUTES PER PLAYER IN 2013--14

THE RIGHT STUFF

Still not sure who to crown in your office pool? Consider the makeup of past champions when predicting this year's World Cup winner

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1 Primary uniform color

9 5 4 1

2 Jersey brand

4

2

1

1

1

Since branded jerseys were introduced in 1978

3 Home continent

9

South America

10

Europe

0

The rest of the world

4 Formation

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Algeria

Argentina

Australia

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Did not compete in qualifiers

Cameroon

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Croatia

Ecuador

England

France

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Honduras

Iran

Italy

Ivory Coast

Japan

Mexico

Netherlands

Nigeria

Portugal

Russia

South Korea

Spain

Switzerland

United States

Uruguay

PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONPHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY TREVOR LAZARUS PHOTOPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (OCTOPUS) PHOTOSTEVE MARCUS/REUTERS (PITBULL) PHOTOSTEVE MARCUS/REUTERS (J.LO) PHOTOSPORTIMAGE/JAKE BADGER/SPORTIMAGE/CAL SPORT MEDIA (BALOTELLI) PHOTOVICTOR DECOLONGON/GETTY IMAGES (GOALIE) SIX ILLUSTRATIONSILLUSTRATIONS BY TREVOR LAZARUS PHOTOARMANDO FRANCA/AP (RONALDO) PHOTOMICHAEL PROBST/AP (HUMMELS) PHOTOMARTIN ROSE/BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES (MERTESACKER) PHOTOBORIS STREUBEL/GETTY IMAGES (SCHMELZER) PHOTOBORIS STREUBEL/GETTY IMAGES (LAHM) PHOTOUE SYNDICATION/ZUMAPRESS.COM (COSTA) PHOTOBERND FEIL/PIXATHLON/SIPA (MANDZUKIC) PHOTOLENNART PREISS/BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES (MULLER) PHOTOEPA/DAVID FERNANDEZ (AGUERO) PHOTODAVID KLEIN/SPORTIMAGE (RONALDO) PHOTOREUTERS/ANDRES STAPFF (SUAREZ) PHOTOROMANO/NURPHOTO/SIPA USA (HIGUAIN) PHOTODAISUKE NAKASHIMA/AFLO/ZUMAPRESS.COM (MESSI) PHOTODAISUKE NAKASHIMA/AFLO/ZUMAPRESS.COM (NEYMAR) PHOTODAISUKE NAKASHIMA/AFLO/ZUMAPRESS.COM (RIBERY) PHOTOROBIN UTRECHT/SIPA USA (VAN PERSIE) PHOTOMARTIN MEJIA/AP (CAICEDO) PHOTOYORICK JANSENS/BELGA/ZUMAPRESS.COM (HAZARD) PHOTOJEFFROY GUY/SIPA (FRED) FOUR ILLUSTRATIONSILLUSTRATIONS BY TREVOR LAZARUS PHOTOCARLOS M. SAAVEDRA FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (REFEREE) THIRTY FOUR CHARTS FIVE DIAGRAMS ILLUSTRATION

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)