Since it is officially past midnight according to my clock, there are just nine more days until the first kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil! One of the biggest party nations will become 31 days of non-stop parties, celebrations, goals, and cheers come 12 June.
But who will win the biggest trophy of the sporting world? Which nation will bring everyone within their borders together?
Warning: my predictions are slightly biased and a few are uneducated, instinctual guesses. But with my guesses, I would bet money, just not my fortune.
Click the jump for the group breakdowns.
Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Okay, being totally honest here, it's sort of clear who will make it out of this round. No offence to Cameroon or Mexico, but Brazil has got this sport in the bag for the first round! And Croatia, they have always had good talent enough to make it past the first round. Now, Mexico does have a good chance of getting out of this round too. Mexico has shown that they have talent before and I wouldn't be surprised if they made it out instead. But... I'd still put my money on Brazil and Croatia.
Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Being perfectly honest, this is where I am the most biased. Spain will make it cleanly out of this group! Spain's talent goes so deep this year, just as it had 4 years ago when it won their last World Cup title. And Dutch football hasn't changed much either. I am sure we'll see the bright orange kits of Netherlands in the second round. I'm sorry Chile and Australia, but you've got some really tough competition in this group!
(Pssst! I'm betting on Spain to win the cup again this year. Show me the support for España!)
Colombia, Greece, Côte d'Ivoire, Japan
Greece is the only winner I see coming out of this one. I might be a little biased when I say Japan won't make it out of this round, so I could be wrong. I would like to see Colombia make it out, but the Ivory Coast has shown before that it has some skill to be threatened by.
Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Do I really need to say it? England and Italy. Two of the richest nations in football, not just in the past decade or so; I mean in the last century. Uruguay and Costa Rica really have it cut out for them against these two power houses!
Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
I'm going to say Honduras will make it out of this group with France. I'm feeling a little lucky saying that, so hopefully they won't prove me wrong. (My Honduran friend should be happy about me saying this [you know who you are.])
Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
With the likes of Messi, Angel di Maria, Mascherano, Aguero, and Higuain - Argentina has got qualifying for the next round in the bag! For the second spot... I'm going to go on a whim and say Nigeria.
Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Okay, before all you hopeful American "soccer" fans get excited and believe you're going to make it out of this group somewhat easily - dudes, you're up against Germany and Portugal! Germany is a scary team to face no matter what the year is and Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, whom I hate to admit has some pretty crazy footwork skills. Sorry Ghana and USA - it's the Europeans getting out of this one.
Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic (South Korea)
South Korea is going to be the only team from Asia making it out of the first round. I feel it. Russia will move on too. They've still go Yuri Zhirkov, so that's bound to be a powerful leader in the group. And all of the talent is Russian based throughout the year, and keeping the talent akin to each other serves well.