2014 World Cup team guide: Greece

Greece midfield general Georgios Karagounis is still going strong in his late thirties.

Credit: PA


Group C fixtures:

Colombia v Greece
June 14 Belo Horizonte, 1700

Japan v Greece
June 19 Natal, 2300

Greece v Ivory Coast
June 24 Fortaleza, 2100

FIFA World Ranking: 12

Head coach: Fernando Santos

How they qualified: Had a strong campaign but even then 25 points was only enough for second place in their group behind Bosnia-Herzegovina, meaning a hard-fought play-off victory over Romania was their route to the finals.

World Cup pedigree: Undistinguished. The Euro 2004 champions have only ever won one World Cup finals match: a 2-1 win over Nigeria in 2010. Their only other finals appearance came in 1994, when they failed to score a single goal and lost every game. The only way is up.

2014 World Cup team guide: Ghana

Ghana stalwart Michael Essien.

Credit: PA


Group G fixtures:

Ghana v USA
June 16 Natal, 2300

Germany v Ghana
June 21 Fortaleza, 2000

Portugal v Ghana
June 26 Brasilia, 1700

FIFA World Ranking: 24

Head coach: Kwesi Appiah

How they qualified: Ghana enjoyed a strong qualifying campaign in a tough African group, as they won five of their six games, but still had to qualify via the playoffs. A 6-1 win at home over a tough opponent in Egypt was followed up by what proved to be a meaningless 2-1 defeat in Cairo.

World Cup pedigree: Ghana have made a mark in both of their finals appearances. In 2006 they were eliminated by Brazil in the Round of 16, while in 2010 they equalled the best effort by an African team, losing agonisingly to Uruguay in the quarter-finals after Asamoah Gyan's missed penalty.

2014 World Cup team guide: Germany

Mesut Ozil is a key man for Germany.

Credit: PA


Group G fixtures:

Germany v Portugal
June 16 Salvador, 1700

Germany v Ghana
June 21 Fortaleza, 2000

USA v Germany
June 26 Recife, 1700

FIFA World Ranking: 2

Head coach: Joachim Low

How they qualified: Germany's qualifying campaign was as convincing as you could get – ruthless, you might even say. They went unbeaten in Group C, with nine wins from ten games. They also banged in 36 goals - more than any other team in the European qualifying section. No one sends out a message of intent quite like Germany.

World Cup pedigree: Formidable, fearsome, though not exactly flawless in recent years. Still, only Brazil and Italy have won more than Germany's three World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990). No other team has played more matches at the finals (99). They've also scored more goals (222) in World Cup finals than any other team.