- Group A: Atletico Madrid (Spain), Juventus (Italy), Olympiakos (Greece), Malmo (Sweden)
- Group B: Real Madrid (Spain), Basel (Switzerland), Liverpool (England) , Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria)
- Group C: Benfica (Portugal), Zenit St Petersburg (Russia), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Monaco (France)
- Group D: Arsenal (England), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Galatasaray (Turkey), Anderlecht (Netherlands)
- Group E: Bayern Munich (Germany, Manchester City (England), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Roma (Italy)
- Group F: Barcelona (Spain), Paris St-Germain (France), Ajax (Netherlands), APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)
- Group G: Chelsea (England), Schalke (Germany), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Maribor (Slovenia)
- Group H: Porto (Portugal), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Athletic Bilbao (Spain), BATE Borisov (Belarus).
The clubs are split into eight groups of four teams, who play home and away against each of their pool opponents between September and December 2014 to decide which two teams from each section advance to the first knockout round. The third-place finishers in each group enter the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
From the last 16 until the semi-finals, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 16, group winners play runners-up other than teams from their own pool or nation, while from the quarter-finals on the draw is free.
The final is decided by a single match, which will be played at the Olympiastadion, Berlin on Saturday 6 June 2015.
The new four-time world champions, Germany, top the first post-tournament FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The World Cup Final against Agentina was also a duel for the leading position in the world ranking – with Joachim Low’s team coming out on top on both counts.
Germany top the table for the first time in around 20 years, followed by Argentina and the Netherlands. Holland’s third-place finish at the World Cup has lifted them 12 positions up the table and back into the top ten. All of the teams that were knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals have climbed up the ranking: Colombia (fourth, up four), Belgium (fifth, up six), France (tenth, up seven) and Costa Rica (16th, up 12 – the country’s highest-ever ranking).
If the winners have gained, the less successful teams are left counting the cost of failure in terms of ranking positions. Former champions Spain have fallen from the top spot to eighth place, with Portugal 11th, down seven; Italy 14th, down five; and England 20th, down ten. Despite reaching the semi-finals, World Cup hosts Brazil have dropped four places to seventh position.
The results of 111 international “A” matches have been taken into account for the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, of which 64 were played at the World Cup, 46 were friendlies and one was a CONCACAF continental qualifier. In this qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015, Turks and Caicos Islands (181st, up 26) celebrated their first victory in over six years against the British Virgin Islands, lifting them off the bottom of the table. The total number of international “A” matches taken into account by FIFA so far this year is now 362.
The world’s top 50 ranked countries on 17 July 2014 following the World Cup are:
|19||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
The World Cup final on 13 July between Germany and Argentina set an all-time ratings record in Germany. An estimated 34.65 million people watched the game on public broadcast network ARD, beating the previous record, also set during the World Cup, Germany’s 7-1 semifinal victory over Brazil on broadcast network ZDF, which had reached nearly 32.6 million viewers on average.
The final is now the highest-rated program ever in Germany since audience data has been collected. The game had a share of 86.3 percent of all Germans watching TV at the time, which is also one of the highest figures ever.
The numbers do not include fans who watched at public viewing sites, such as in bars or on big screens in outdoor locations around Berlin and other cities, a popular viewing option in Germany.
In comparison to the final, Germany’s quarterfinal against France had drawn 26.3 million viewers in Germany, the Round of 16 game against Algeria had reached 28.2 million, while the team’s first match of the World Cup against Portugal drew 26.4 million, followed by a 2-2 draw against Ghana that averaged 24.5 million viewers.
Prior to the 2014 World Cup the previous audience records were reached in 2010 when the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Spain drew 31.1 million viewers.
Numbers for the US show the country’s growing interest in “soccer”. The final averaged an impressive 26.5 million viewers on ABC and Univision, according to Nielsen — higher than the 24.7 million who watched the USA-Portugal match on 22 June. Both ABC (17.3 million) and Univision (9.2 million) registered their largest audiences ever for a World Cup game
To put it in context, the figure of 26.5 million is a larger audience in the US than the deciding game for the most recent World Series on Fox (19.2 million) and the NBA Finals on ABC (18.0 million). It also beat the BCS Championship game in college football on ESPN in January (25.6 million).
For ABC, the 17.3 million ranks third among all English-language soccer matches in the US, behind only the 18.2 million for USA-Portugal match and the 18 million for the Women’s World Cup Final against China in 1999.
In addition to the TV broadcast, the final match on WatchESPN generated 1,800,000 live unique viewers, 112,100,000 live minutes viewed and the highest time spent per viewer (63 minutes) of any match of the 2014 World Cup.
Univision, which had set a US Spanish-language World Cup ratings record in each round of the tournament, ended up about 35% ahead of 2010 in average viewership. The network’s coverage reached 80.9 million viewers, 65% more than 2010 (49.1 million).
In the UK a peak television audience of more than 20 million viewers watched Germany win – the vast majority of them on BBC1. The game was seen by a peak of 16.7 million viewers on BBC1 at 10.30pm on Sunday. Another 3.8 million viewers were watching at the same time on ITV, for a peak audience across both channels of 20.5 million. ITV’s five-minute peak, across the entire game, came towards the end of normal time with 4 million viewers at 9.45pm.
BBC1’s audience was down on the 2010 final, which averaged 12.7 million viewers across the entirety of the BBC’s coverage. ITV was up marginally, from 2.8 million.
The final was the biggest UK TV audience since the Summer Olympics 2012 closing ceremony in London. On a combined basis, the audience share peaked at more than 75 percent of people watching TV in Britain at the time, up from 72.7 percent for the last World Cup final.
In France, the final averaged 13.6 million viewers, on TF1 with a peak audience of 15.3 million. A 61 percent share.
Perhaps surprisingly the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina did not break the volume of Twitter traffic generated by Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil in the World Cup semi-finals. That game remains the most discussed sports game on Twitter so far with a record 35.6 million tweets sent during the 90-minute game.
However the final did break the tweets-per-minute record, when the final whistle went and Germany was champion. This triggered 618,725 tweets in one minute.
Not surprisingly the most tweeted German player was goal scorer Mario Gotze, while for Argentina it was Lionel Messi.
Over the entire tournament Twitter registered 672 million World Cup related tweets. The three most tweeted players were Neymar, Messi, and Suarez.
Facebook reported 88 million people globally had more than 280 million Facebook interactions (posts, comments, and likes) related to the World Cup, breaking the record for a sporting event, previously held by the Super Bowl in 2013 (145 million). The 88 million included 10.5 million people in the United States, 10 million people in Brazil, more than 7 million in Argentina, and about 5 million in Germany.
The World Cup final between Argentina and Germany is the 10th (of the 20 finals to date) that has featured a South American country and a European country. South American teams have won seven of the nine finals.
In all 20 World Cups, and following gthe came between Brazil and the Netherlands, there have been 235 games between South American and European teams. The South American countries have won 99 of these, Europe 84, and there have been 52 draws.
Of the seven World Cups held in the Americas, all have been won by South American teams.
In the 19 previous World Cup finals we have only seen eight champions and they were all playing in Brazil. As both Argentina and Germany are previous winners, that number will stay the same for 2018 in Russia.
The roll of honour is: Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002); Italy (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006); Germany (1954, 1974,1990); Argentina (1978, 1986); Uruguay (1930, 1950); England (1966); France (1998) and Spain (2010).
Italy’s Nicola Rizzoli has been chosen to referee the WorldCup final in Rio de Janeiro on 13 July. In the tournament he has already been in charge of Spain v Netherlands and Nigeria v Argentina in the group stages, as well as the Argentina v Belgium quarter final.
Rizzoli started his international career in 2007, going on to referee the final in each of the two main European club competitions. He was the man in the middle for Atletico Madrid-Fulham at the climax of the 2010 UEFA Europa League, followed by the all-German decider between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 UEFA Champions League.
In 2011, the Italian was selected for the FIFA Club World Cup, where he presided over two games. In 2012, Rizzoli was tasked with handling Spain-France in the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2012 and two more matches during the same competition.
Rizzoli will be assisted by his compatriots Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani. The fourth official will be Carlos Vera from Ecuador.
Nicola Rizzoli will be the third Italian referee in the history of the FIFA World Cup to officiate a final, following in the footsteps of Sergio Gonella in 1978 and Pierluigi Collina in 2002.