With the World Cup due to begin in less than eight months and Ghana almost through to the tournament in Brazil our football experts take you through a guide of all you need to know.
On June 12 2014, the FIFA World Cup will get underway in Sao Paolo, and with Brazil, Holland, Germany, Argentina and Belgium all already confirmed as participants, it promises to be packed with talent.
World champions Spain need just a point at home to Georgia to confirm their place, and a win for England against Poland on Tuesday will see the Three Lions in attendance next summer.
When is the big kick-off?
The competition begins on June 12, and will no doubt have a samba-fused grandiose opening ceremony to accompany it.
Reigning world champions Spain are likely to enter the tournament as favourites, alongside a resurgent Germany.
Hosts Brazil can also never be overlooked and with the competition held in their backyard, the Selecao will have added incentive and even more pressure to deliver the trophy back to where many Brazilians feel is the rightful home.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s bitter rivals Argentina cruised through qualifying, topping the group as coach Alejandro Sabella has been working on the best way to get Lionel Messi to replicate his club form on the international stage.
Some 6,164,682 ticket requests have been made for the 2014 FIFA World Cup from 203 countries. Tickets are available via Fifa.com
The World Cup is nothing withouts its leading men, and there are plenty of international superstars already booked on a flight to Brazil next summer. Manchester United’s Robin van Persie will be there with his compatriots Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart.
Germany will have their dazzling array of talented youngsters on display with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos all likely to be named in the squad.
The hosts of course are never short of an exciting player or three, and players such as Hulk and Oscar can probably count themselves as a ‘given’ alongside the current darling of Brazil; Barcelona star Neymar.
Argentina will have Lionel Messi in their ranks, and the four-time Ballon d’Or winner is likely to be joined alongside Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero – how they would love to win the World Cup in their fierce-rivals home.
The draw for the World Cup has not yet been made but the culmination of the month-long tournament ends at the Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.
The draw for the Group Stages will be held in the plush surroundings of Costa do Sauipe in the Brazilian state of Bahia on December 6.
The 32-team draw will determine what teams line up against each other, giving fans the chance begin the speculation as to how their nation will fare in the four-team groups.
During the Confederations Cup last summer, the competition was marred somewhat by a consistent group of protesters who staunchly opposed the amount of money the country had spent on hosting the World Cup.
However, the competition continued, so there should be no reason to suggest it will harm the world’s biggest football tournament too much.
“There is no plan B and I haven’t had any offers from other countries to host the World Cup next year,” FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters.
If you aren’t one of the lucky ones who are able to make it to Brazil, then terrestrial television holds the key. Despite the dominance of Sky Sports and more recently BT Sport to Premier League and Football League rights, the World Cup will be free to view for all.