You've located the World Cup television schedule, found your vuvuzela from 2010 and your remote control, planned your daily schedule around the matches and you're now ready for two solid weeks of the best international soccer on the globe -- three, sometimes four matches in a day.

OK, so maybe you just realize that there's going to be at least one match every day from June 12 to 26 and you're going to try to see as many as you can.

If you can't watch them all, or you want to DVR/TiVo (or whatever today's recording device is) the ones you can't see live, here's a guide to the most intriguing and potentially entertaining matches to watch during the group stage.

We won't include the knockout round because, well, every match will be must-see TV when it's one-and-done. But if you're going to pick from group play, here are five games you won't want to miss:

1. Brazil vs. Croatia, June 12

Traditionally, the host team plays in the World Cup opener. So it will be Brazil, the third-ranked team in the world according to FIFA, and Croatia, ranked 18th, getting things started from Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Thursday. This venue was one of those that was in a race against time to be completed and ready for matches, and as recently as Saturday, work was still being done.

The match will showcase Brazil's star-studded "Selecao," featuring Neymar, Hulk, Fred, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and David Luiz -- all of whom play for top-flight European clubs -- among others. Croatia will begin its quest to make it out of Group A against favorite Brazil, struggling Mexico and Cameroon.

But protests and unrest could steal some of the spotlight. Many Brazilians are unhappy about a World Cup infrastructure that has displaced residents in some city neighborhoods and consumed government funds better used to improve livelihoods and services in the country.

The transit workers' demonstrations continued in Sao Paulo on Monday, so things might not be resolved until the last minute, if at all.

2. Spain vs. Netherlands, June 13

This rematch of the 2010 World Cup final pits the Spaniards against the Dutch in the Group B opener. Spain enters the competition as the top-ranked team in the world while the Netherlands is 15th.

It's the Oranje's big three of midfielder Wesley Sneijder and forwards Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie against La Furia Roja's stacked roster of stars from three of the world's best clubs -- Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The big names for Spain are Andres Iniesta, who scored the only goal in the World Cup final four years ago, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, David Villa and Fernando Torres, plus goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who plays for Real Madrid.

3. Ghana vs. USA, June 16

The Yanks' unfavorable draw landed them in Group G with No. 2-ranked Germany, No. 4 Portugal and No. 37 Ghana. Based on the rankings (the U.S. is No. 13), the Americans should be favored to open group play with the all-important win they'll need to have a shot -- and a long shot at that -- of advancing out of the group and into the knockout round.

But there's a catch: Ghana is the opponent that knocked the U.S. out of the past two World Cups. The Black Stars defeated the U.S. 2-1 in 2006 in Germany, with the U.S. needing a win to advance out of the group stage. Then in 2010, Ghana ousted the Americans again by the same score.

It was a heartbreaker for the U.S. team, and a few players from that match are back in 2014.

No chance the recent World Cup history between these teams is lost on either side. But in a group with Germany and Portugal, this is as close to a must-win match for both teams as there is in World Cup group play.

4. Switzerland vs. France, June 20

These figure to be the top two teams in Group E, and Les Bleus will look to atone for a poor showing four years ago in South Africa. The Swiss have the No. 6 world ranking, which puts them ahead of several better-known European soccer powers like Italy, England, the Netherlands and No. 17 France.

The French took a strong team to South Africa, but were knocked out in the group stage amid turmoil between players and the former head coach. It was a national disgrace for a team that won the World Cup as recently as 1998 and was in the final in 2006.

Karim Benzema, a striker for Real Madrid, is the big name for France, which has more individual star players than Switzerland. But the French will be without wing Franck Ribery, who will miss the World Cup due to injury. The loss of Ribery, a stalwart for Bayern Munich, could prove significant.

5. Italy vs. Uruguay, June 24

If there's a second "Group of Death," it's the Group D draw that boasts three top-10 teams in No. 7 Uruguay, No. 9 Italy and No. 10 England along with Costa Rica. By the time this match rolls around, Italy and Uruguay could be battling for first place in the group or the group's final berth in the knockout round.

This matchup is about as even as it gets. The two teams have faced each other eight times and each side has two wins, two losses and four draws. Even the goals scored for both teams are even at seven apiece.

The strikers for both sides will be front and center, with the Azzurri's Mario Balotelli and Ciro Immobile, who is a rising star in Europe, trying to outperform Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani of Uruguay.

Copyright © 2005 Sports Avenue Online