Rio de Janeiro
Site of the World Cup final at the iconic Maracana Stadium, Rio will be like New Orleans on steroids. Expect the city -- and its famed Copacabana beach -- to be the center of the party for the next four weeks.
The reigning World Cup champions are looking to add a second star to their red jerseys. The Spanish have been handed a tough group this time and will have to face the Netherlands (the team it beat in the 2010 final) in its first game.
Games in the first round, which follow a round-robin format, can end in a tie (more commonly referred to as a draw) after 90 minutes. However, the knockout phase features a bracket where teams are eliminated. If a game ends in a draw, an additional 30 minutes of extra time is played. If that ends in a stalemate, the game is decided via a shootout.
The United States is in Group G -- also known as the "Group of Death" -- along with Germany, Portugal and Ghana. The Americans will open against Ghana on June 16, play Portugal on June 22 and close out the group stage June 26 versus Germany. The USA are underdogs, but don't rule out a Cinderella run.
The tournament is loaded with veteran superstars. For the USA, six players who were on the 2010 team are back -- goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, midfielder Michael Bradley, strikers Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey as well as midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who is poised to become the first American to play in four World Cups.
The star striker is once again the player all of England is relying on. He has had a wonderful club career but his time with England has not been so stellar. Is this the year England wins it all?
Every World Cup has one -- a player who ends up making the difference. Who will it be this time? Stay tuned.
Referees hand out (actually they wave them in the air) yellow cards whenever a player commits a serious foul. Two yellow cards will trigger an automatic red, which means a player is ejected from the game.
He may be one of the best players on the planet, but his Sweden team failed to qualify. In other words, you won't be seeing him at the World Cup, although a recent viral campaign with the hastag #VemIbra has tried to get him to show up. No word on if he will attend.
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