World Cup: Come on Europe!
The European Commissioner responsible for sport, Androulla Vassiliou, has sent a good luck message to European teams taking part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The 20th World Cup tournament kicks off at Sao Paulo on Thursday, 12 June, with the hosts, Brazil, facing Croatia in Group A. World champions Spain start the defence of their title against the Netherlands on Friday, 13 June, in Salvador. The final will take place on 13 July 2014 at Rio De Janeiro's Maracanã stadium.
"This is the moment that all the players and millions of football fans across the planet have been waiting for. I am sure that we are in for a thrilling tournament and I hope that the World Cup trophy will be coming home to Europe again. I wish all the European teams the best of luck and that the fans travelling to Brazil also have a great and safe tournament," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
In total 32 teams, divided into eight groups, have qualified for the finals; 13 come from the UEFA region, including 10 EU Member States: Croatia (Group A), Spain, The Netherlands (Group B), Greece (Group C), England, Italy (Group D), France (Group E), Germany, Portugal (Group G) and Belgium (Group H). The other UEFA region qualifiers are Switzerland (Group E), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Group F) and Russia (Group H).
- Which European players would be in your World Cup fantasy team? Let us know via the European Commission Facebook and Google Plus pages or tweet with the hashtag #EUDreamTeam. We will present the top European XI based on your votes at the end of the group stage.