The 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil on June 12, and the world is abuzz with excitement about the international competition. In preparation for a month of fútbol, catch up on the five teams you should be watching:
The reigning world and European champions are attempting to do what only Brazil has done before -- win back-to-back World Cups. Led by lightning-quick striker Xavier "Xavi" Hernandez and anchored by Europe's sexiest goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, La Furia Roja has a strong shot at the glorious golden trophy.
The English might have written the rules of football, but Brazil morphed it into a beautiful game. They've underperformed at the last few tournaments, but rock star forward Neymar (Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior) might give the home team the edge they need to take home the gold.
The 2012 Olympic champions have had a turbulent couple of years, struggling through coaching changes and locker-room strife. But Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez wants a World Cup to go with his gold medal... and you shouldn't underestimate him.
The Americans face a tough group of first-round opponents, including longtime nemesis Ghana. But, they're stronger than ever with big man Jozy Altidore up front and icy-cool Tim Howard in the goal.
Ask any soccer fan (except the ones from Portugal), and they'll tell you Lionel Messi is the best player alive. However, he's never managed to transfer his brilliance with Barcelona to his playing for his home country. The bitter rivalry between Brazil and Argentina should spur the Albiceleste on to excellence. If the two South American powerhouses face each other, it will be during the final weekend -- July 12 & 13.