- Hosts Brazil will kick off the 2014 World Cup against Croatia on June 12. They are joined in Group A with Mexico and Cameroon.
- Finalists in 2010, Spain and Holland, are drawn together in Group B alongside Chile and Australia.
Former winners England, Italy and Uruguay will meet in Group D. They are joined by Costa Rica.
Germany, Portugal, USA and Ghana make up the 'Group of Death' in Group G.
- Algeria, the Arab world's sole representative, drawn in Group H alongside Belgium, Russia and South Korea.
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea
The world's most expensive player, Gareth Bale, was one of the first to offer his thoughts on the draw:
Tough looking group for England but some exciting games to look forward to... Portugal-Germany and Spain-Holland in particular— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) December 6, 2013
England's 1966 World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst sees the funny side of England's group:
I hope they let me back in the country!— Sir Geoff Hurst (@TheGeoffHurst) December 6, 2013
Argentina and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero tweets:
There's no easy match on the world cup, but effort and hard work always gives rewards! C´mon Argentina!! #Brasil2014— Sergio Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) December 6, 2013
Cameroon star Samuel Eto'o is refusing to let a tough draw get him down:
Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil relishing the prospect of meeting his former Real Madrid team-mates:
Hey, Cristiano, Pepe and Coentrao: i am happy to see you in brazil— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) December 6, 2013
Nigeria forward Victor Moses seems content with his nation's lot:
Really excited about the World Cup now the draw has been done! Come on #Nigeria— Victor Moses (@VictorMoses) December 6, 2013
England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney took to his Facebook page to give his reaction: "If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best. Tough group but really looking forward to it! Roll on Brazil 2014!"
France legend Zinedine Zidane WON'T be a happy man with Les Bleus' World Cup opener against minnows Honduras. Here's why:
THE 'OTHER' STAR OF THE NIGHT...
Adidas launched the official World Cup ball earlier this week. Meet the "brazuca"...
- The brazuca went through a two-and-a-half year testing process making it the most tested all EVER.
- The process involved 600 of the world's top players and 30 teams in 10 countries across three continents.
- The name "brazuca" is an informal local term which means "Brazilian", or it can also describe the Brazilian way of life.
- The name was chosen after a public vote involving one million Brazilian fans.
For all you football hipsters out there you might like this... the history of the World Cup ball from 1970 to 2014. Yep, all 12 of them.
WORLD CUP VENUES
The 12 stadiums that the world's best players will grace next summer:
Earlier this week, Yahoo Maktoob Sports caught up with two men who have both been fortunate enough to play in World Cup finals in the past.
Former Real Madrid full-back Michel Salgado, now a resident in Dubai, was part of Spain's 2006 squad and can't wait for the festival of football to kick off next summer.
He also spoke candidly about his country's new secret weapon and Gareth Bale's start to life in Real Madrid. Well worth a watch.
We also spoke to Al Ahli captain Grafite, who was a a member of Brazil's 2010 World Cup squad.
The big striker insists Neymar - the poster boy of next summer's World Cup, can handle the burden of carrying a nation's hopes. He also dropped a huge hint of where his future may lie next season.
WHO'S ON THE PLANE TO BRAZIL
Hosts Brazil are hoping to lift a sixth World Cup, but they face a stiff challenge from the other 31 nations when the tournament kicks off on June 12. Here, we take a closer look at the countries bound for Brazil.
From the collective to the individuals, we take a closer look at the star men of each country. No prizes for guessing who tops the bill for Argentina and Portugal respectively.
AND WHO ISN'T...
While Messers Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney will be gracing football's biggest stage next summer, spare a thought for these players who'll instead be confined to their sofas.
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo is the all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup history with 15 goals and is confident of a trouble free tournament in his home country.