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World Cup Preview: Group H

The World Cup begins in exactly 24 days, and we are officially excited. Starting June 11, there's nonstop historic action, all day: From 7:30 a.m. on, you have every excuse to pretty much take the whole summer off. We kick off our World Cup coverage today with our group previews, starting with Group H and going backward, because no one ever starts at the end. So, here's all you need to know about Group H, which features Chile, Honduras, Spain, and Switzerland.

GROUP H

FIFA Rankings
No. 2: Spain
No. 15: Chile
No. 26: Switzerland
No. 40: Honduras

Best World Cup Finish
Chile: Third place (1962).
Honduras: 0–2–1 (1982, only appearance).
Spain: Fourth place (1950).
Switzerland: Quarterfinals (1934, 1938, 1954).

Best Player
Chile: Claudio Bravo, goalkeeper.
Honduras: Wilson Palacios, midfielder.
Spain: Xavi, midfielder.
Switzerland: Tranquillo Barnetta, midfielder.

Coach (and Sideline Garb)
Chile: Marcelo Bielsa. Known as "the Madman," Bielsa is famous for his massive soccer-video collection and his tendency to have press conferences that go on for more than three hours. He coached Argentina to a Gold Medal in 2004. (Athletic gear.)
Honduras: Reinaldo Rueda. Once served as Colombian head coach and somehow was not murdered after failing to reach the 2006 World Cup. (Suit and tie.)
Spain: Vicente del Bosque. Shy, quiet, and calm, with a truly epic mustache. (Suit and tie.)
Switzerland: Ottmar Hitzfeld. Two-time World Coach of the Year, this native German considers Switzerland the land of his birth and says coaching the Swiss in the World Cup fulfills his lifelong dream. (Suit and tie.)

Broadcaster-Worthy Anecdote
Chile: Since the last World Cup — for which the Chileans did not qualify — the entire Chilean team has been restructured and remodeled after an incident involving "lewd groping" by the team during the 2007 Copa America.
Honduras: The country is still reeling from last year's military coup.
Spain: Always one of the best teams, they've somehow never made it past the quarterfinals in the World Cup. This is almost certainly the most talented team the country has ever put together.
Switzerland: The only team in this group that does not speak Spanish.

Schedule
June 16, 7:30 a.m.: Chile vs. Honduras.
June 16, 10 a.m.: Spain vs. Switzerland.
June 21, 10 a.m.: Chile vs. Switzerland.
June 21, 2:30 p.m.: Spain vs. Honduras.
June 25, 2:30 p.m.: Switzerland vs. Honduras.
June 25, 2:30 p.m.: Spain vs. Chile.

Prediction
1. Spain
2. Switzerland
3. Chile
4. Honduras

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Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images, Phil Cole/Getty Images, Alex Livesey/Getty Images, LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images