7 Dec 2013

Brazil to kick off World Cup against Croatia

7:14 am on 7 December 2013

The host nation Brazil will kick off next year's football World Cup against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12 and the favourites will be happy with a Group A also containing Mexico and Cameroon.

Friday's complicated draw procedure went off smoothly as holders Spain and 2010 runners-up Netherlands were put together in the group stages, but have a tough task with Chile and Australia alongside them in Group B.

England, Italy and Uruguay, all former winners, were put together, along with Costa Rica, in Group D, with England facing Italy in the jungle city of Manaus in their first game.

Germany will come face to face with their former striker and coach Juergen Klinsmann, now in charge of the United States, with Portugal and Ghana completing the Group G lineup.

France, who qualified via the playoffs, will be pleased with a Group E placing alongside Ecuador, Switzerland and Honduras.

Bosnia, the only one of the 32 teams taking part in their first World Cup finals, face Argentina, Iran and Nigeria.

The final is in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.