Socceroos' chances at the World CupMay 29, 2014

The Australian national football team is one of the thirty two teams competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which begins in two weeks. The Socceroos are in Group B, along with Chile, Netherlands, and Spain. Only two teams will advance to the knockout stage.

Bookmakers don't give Australia a favourable chance. Social media response was no different, after Socceroos’ 1-1 draw with South Africa. The latter failed to qualify to this year's edition of football's biggest stage. But anything can happen.

Australia will play its first match against Chile in Cuiabá on June 13. The odds seem in favour of the South Americans, but the Socceroos stand a chance, as Chile's best record was a fifth-place finish, which took place during the first World Cup in 1930. There are some who bet on them not to score a goal, as injury keeps Mark Milligan and James Troisi from playing since last month. Though the team's sports scientists and medical practitioners have prove themselves to prepare the players on time, the question on whether they can rise to the occasion is another matter. This leads to Australia's other opponents, Netherlands and Spain.

Australia will play Netherlands in Porto Alegre on June 18. The Dutch Eleven are intimidating, finishing runner-up thrice, the last in 2010. They're also the winner of the 1988 European Championship. La Roja, the nickname for the Spanish national team, will be Australia's final opponent, as both teams play in Curitiba on June 23. They're the defending champion and the most recent winner of the UEFA European Championship. Unless something unexpected happens, Spain and the Netherlands will be the top two in Group B.

Below is a forecast for the other groups:

Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia, and Mexico

Expect Brazil, the host team, to be unbeaten in the round-robin stage. Croatia is favoured to finish second, given its good record in international competition. (The Balkan team was third in 1998 in France.)

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, and Japan

The odds are in favour of the Greek national team, but both Japan and Colombia can surprise fans if their performance during the last three editions (of the World Cup) are of any indication.

Group D: Costa Rica, England, Italy, and Uruguay

Barring upsets, England and Italy will make it to the next round.

Group E: Ecuador, France, Honduras, and Switzerland

France will likely be first, with Switzerland at second.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, and Nigeria

Argentina, winners in 1978 and 1986, will top their group. Bosnia and Herzegovina makes its first appearance in the quadrennial event, which means Iran and Nigeria will fight it out for second place. The Africans are slight favourites.

Group G: Germany, Ghana, Portugal, and USA

Germany and Portugal have been consistent in international competition for years, which means the Stars and Stripes will go home early.

Group H: Algeria, Belgium, Russia, and South Korea

Belgium and Russia are favoured in this group.

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