Michael has signed off
We have plenty more reading material on the World Cup:
And the forthcoming Premier League fixtures:
Thanks for reading and commenting.
What are your views on Russia? They've been one of the least talked about teams in the run-up to the draw, but they've got a winnable group, and potentially a tie against Portugal in the next round, who they qualified ahead of.
Hey Michael, after Italy's refined performance in Euro 12, do you think Brazil 14 will be where a 'great' Italy might come into being? I am excited about Insigne, De Sciglio and El Sharaawy combining with dyed in the wool internationals like Pirlo and Buffon. And do you think Francesco Totti should be recalled?
Who's your dark horse? And are Argentina a little overrated? Messi and Aguero are brilliant, but will the 11 have the balance they were lacking in 2010?
I've seen it said that Brazil and Spain can't meet each other until the final – is that not possible if Spain come second to Holland in group B?
Can I pin you down here? I think Germany will win this World Cup. If you had to choose the winner, which team do you fancy?
No one's mentioning Mexico, prior to their disastrous qualifying campaign. They have been viewed as a team on the up. Now with a new manager who's intent on using his regulars from his club team (he is also managing a club side simultaneously) , I do think this guys can at least be good enough for the second round on team spirit and chemistry alone.
Reckon we'll see anything a bit unexpected this tournament? Like more teams playing three at the back or teams doing well with a very narrow team that lacks wide play?
Who starts as Germany's No9 between Kruse, Klose, Gomez and Goetze?
You think Roys really had a tenner? ...or like the rest of us he's really givin us no chance?
If he's really more worried about the venue ... and now weve got Italy in the "bad place" ... I reckon he said a tenner but actually put 10p on it.
Assuming Brazil will win the Group A, which team you think will be the runner-up?
Having successfully applied for the game D3 v D4 in Manaus last month I was ecstatic to see England and Italy being drawn. Then I saw that this game could be swapped for Uruguay v Costa Rica. Any word on the chances this will happen, even if I get really cross and stamp my feet?
GoonDizzy:Do you think Switzerland, Colombia and Belgium deserved to be seeded over Holland and Italy?
Not to sound silly but what makes Spain as good as 2010 in terms of their 1st eleven? Xavi and Iniesta have looked worse this season than in 2010 for example. Spain lack a striker who's doing that well, I'd say Torres and Villa were much better in 2010, although Negredo/ Llorente could be an option.
Also, teams know how to play against Spain now, their passing ability, pressing, increase in passing tempo in the final third and ability for players to switch positions isn't completely alien to opposition teams anymore.
What are your thoughts on France's chances to win it? Despite their messy qualification, they should be one of the best four teams. A very talented squad with a lot of players having good seasons and an easy route to the knock out stages which should help their eleven gel. Their only weaknesses seem to be -- a) no real defensive leader in the back (Abidal would be a surprise starter) and b) they're French.
Do you think teams will be affected by climate? (Especially teams that aren't from warmer places). It may seem silly but won't that impact the implementation of tactics like pressing? For that reason I could see South American or African teams being abit better off.
On Colombia, Macnelly wont start. They'll play two holding midfielders, James will be the number 10 coming in from the left wing, and they'll play Falcao and Gutierrez up front. Cuadrado can provide width on the other flank, or Guarin can further shore up themiddle from the right wing. The center backs are weak though.
Germany seem to have adopted a much more aggressive pressing style over the course of the qualification campaign, similar to the way Dortmund and Bayern play. Given that all 3 of their group matches are in the north and if they won the group the first knockout game would also be in the north, would one think Löw might tone this down due to the heat and humidity factor? Would we see a more counterattacking style like in 2010?
No doubt Roy will be playing for a draw in the first two games, and hoping to nick one from a set-piece (or a flash of brilliance, if he allows himself to imagine such things). With Gerrard, Sturridge and Baines on the field, that wouldn't be a bad strategy. It's going to be a very tight group, and likely full of very defensive football, but that's per usual for the World Cup. My prediction is we'll get the two draws we are hoping for in the first two games, then bugger it up against Costa Rica when everyone thought we were through already.
Which African country do you think has the best chance of reaching the last 16?
Do you think we'll see in the next 12 years a procedure where the top eight seeds are placed in Pot 1, the next top 8 seeds in Pot 2, etc.? They could still account for geographical variations in the same manner done here.
Who's under-rating Spain exactly? Feel like they'll be fine in group stages and play the 2nd place team in group A (I think) who won't be extremely strong (Croatia?)
If Juan Quintero stays fit throughout the second half of the season with Porto, could you see him starting as the creative playmaker for Colombia? Pekerman does like to play with two forwards generally but it seems that way because they lack a creative player playing behind Falcao.
Hello, you see the showdown between England and Uruguay, which would be the favourite? Thanks, Carlos from Uruguay.
One thing that strikes me looking through that list is that there really are no genuinely easy groups.
France must be laughing, though, having barely scraped through, assumed they were going to be put into pot 2, been told that it wouldn't be like that and then ended up in the least difficult group. It's almost as though someone is looking out for them.
Having seen the draw, is it safe to say that Argentina are now the favorites?
Brazil naturally held that position going into the draw (rightfully so), but now their first knockout game will be against one of Spain, Holland or Chile. It's also important to not that Argentina got one of the friendliest travel itineraries, including a game in neighboring Porto Alegre.
Views on Shearer's assessment of England's best team/system? What do you think would be the best team and system to take to Brazil?
How do you think Portugal will fare in their group? And, if Danny is fit to play at World Cup, what formation do you expect from Bento?
As a Belgian, I'm very happy with the draw as it gives us a very real chance of progressing through the group stage. However, there's lots of attention on the national team, they're even being named as outsiders for the title. This strikes me as odd as Belgium haven't beaten any major team in the past couple of years, apart from when they defeated a Holland side that was humiliated at Euro 12 and just had a new coach, hardly a quality team at the time. Besides, there's some glaring weaknesses in the squad and style of play that still haven't been adressed.
So my question, why do you think they have so much of a chance, apart from having a bunch of very talented individuals? And how far do you see them go?
Could you go into more depth about why you believe Groups B and D are the toughest? Group G is certainly the strongest group across the board. Australia and Costa Rica are likely to be non-factors in their group, while any of the USA, Ghana, or Portugal are more than capable of beating each other (and Germany) on their day.
Perhaps the argument is that Chile and England are better than the third best teams in their respective groups, but I am not sure I buy that. Chile was somewhat fortunate to progress in 2010 and haven't improved all that much based on their showings in the qualifiers, and England have continued to stagnate since 2010 and 2012. Meanwhile, the USA and Ghana have added youthful depth to their sides that they did not possess in 2010 (where Robbie Findlay actually saw playing time) and have played some excellent stuff over the last year.
Which sides do you find most interesting from a tactical point of view, are we likely to see anything as radical as Bielsa's 3-3-1-3?
I think Spain and Chile will qualify from their group. What do you think? Netherlands had an easy group while Spain had a group containing France. Netherlands don't have the squad they had for the WC final and they have a very young team while Spain have a conveyor belt of players who are pushing extremely hard to get into the first 11. Chile will also adapt easier to the conditions while Spain have already made pre-tournament plans to stay in Curitiba and have the experience of the Confed Cup.