A to Z Guide to the 2014 World Cup

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PHOTO: Rio de Janeiro.
Courtesy VISITBRASIL.COM
PHOTO: Rio de Janeiro.

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.

Spain

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.

PHOTO: General view of the FIFA World Cup Trophy at Univision Headquarters on April 15, 2014 in Miami, Fla.
Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images
PHOTO: General view of the FIFA World Cup Trophy at Univision Headquarters on April 15, 2014 in Miami, Fla.

Ties

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.

USA

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.

Veterans

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.

Wayne Rooney

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?

PHOTO: Wayne Rooney evades Toni Kroos of Germany
Clive Rose/Getty Images
PHOTO: Wayne Rooney evades Toni Kroos of Germany

X-Factor

Every World Cup has one -- a player who ends up making the difference. Who will it be this time? Stay tuned.

Yellow Card

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.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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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