World Cup 2014: Host nation Brazil start finals against Croatia

Brazil: Will kick off next summer's World Cup against Croatia

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Host nation Brazil will kick off next summer's World Cup finals with their opening Group A match against Croatia in Sao Paulo on Thursday, June 12.

The favourites will be expected to finish top after they were also drawn against Mexico and Cameroon.

Klinsmann: It is what it is

Holders Spain and 2010 runners-up the Netherlands were drawn together in the tough-looking Group B, which also includes Chile and Australia.

Holland coach Louis van Gaal said: "We have to play the world champion, we have to play Australia who we have never beaten and Chile was 3-0 up recently against Colombia before it ended 3-3, so that is not a weak team."

Germany will come up against former striker and coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is in charge of Group G rivals USA, while Portugal and Ghana complete a tricky quartet.

"I kind of had in my stomach that we were going to get Germany."

Jurgen Klinsmann

"I kind of had in my stomach that we were going to get Germany," said Klinsmann, who played in the 1990 World Cup winning team.

"Obviously it's one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw, having Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ghana, who has a history with the United States. It couldn't get any more difficult or any bigger."

France were forced to qualify through the play-offs, but they should have an easier path to the next stage after being pitted against Ecuador, Switzerland and Honduras in Group E.

France get off lightly

Coach Didier Deschamps said: "We open against Honduras and not Switzerland, the seeded team, so that's an ideal situation. It's a favourable order of play but only if we win this first match."

Argentina, second favourites for the trophy, feature in Group F alongside Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia, who are the only side taking part in their first finals.

Nigeria have beaten Argentina just once in six World Cup meetings, but assistant manager Daniel Amokachi remained upbeat.

"It's a good group for us," said the former Everton player.

"Argentina are the world powers, but you cannot afford to underrate Iran or Bosnia. We will respect all the teams and take it game after game. Overall, it's a good draw."

Colombia will face Greece, the Ivory Coast and Japan in Group C, while Belgium, considered dark horses, will meet Algeria, Russia and South Korea in Group H.