With the FIFA World Cup starting later this month, we look at the favourites to win the tournament and the circumstances working in favour of each of the teams.
Arguably the favourites of the tournament, Brazil heads into this World Cup with their chances as high as they’ve been since the days Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and co won the trophy in 2002, and reached the Quarter-finals in 2006.
Their superstar attacker Neymar Jr, who burst onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has already said, despite only being 30-years-old, that this will be his last time playing in the tournament. He will hope to lead his nation one last time to challenge for the greatest prize in football, but it is definitely far from a one man show.
Brazil are claimed to be the nation with the most squad depth at the World Cup, with players from across Europe’s top five leagues featuring in the squad.
Thiago Silva and Gabriel Jesus are among the players that will represent the English Premier League and Vinicius Junior, Raphinha and Éder Militão are some of the players featured from the Spanish La Liga that make up the squad.
The Brazilians have never lacked neither quality, nor flair. They play with a smile on their faces doing what they enjoy most and for that reason they are not only competition favourites, but most of all they are fan favourites.
The reigning World Cup champions, Les Bleus, hope to retain their title this year in Qatar and once again they are undoubtedly among the favourites.
With stars like Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Ousmane Dembele leading the line for the French, they provide a serious offensive threat for any team they encounter.
Unfortunately they will be without midfield tandem, Kante and Pogba for this year’s World Cup, but their young midfield talents like Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Touchemeni have a huge chance to announce themselves on the big stage.
It is no secret that in the past, previous winners of the competition have struggled to make it out the group stages with Itay, Spain and Germany all struggling after previous success.
In this case however, it looks like France have too much talent and experience to find themselves in a similar predicament to their predecessors and once again their fans will be chanting only one thing: “Ramenez la coupe à la maison.”
It is one last dance in Qatar for Lionel Messi as he hopes to capture that elusive trophy and get his dream international ending.
The Argentinian international team set up has had very little success this century, which is down to neither a lack of personnel or talent but instead because of a history of poor management and squad imbalance.
They came close at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as Messi won player of the tournament, but they were met with defeat in the final, losing 1-0 to Germany as Mario Götze scored in extra time, consequently breaking Argentinian hearts.
However, in the last few years the tide has turned for La Albicelestes, winning both the Copa America and the Finalissima in back-to-back years and re-announcing themselves onto the international football scene as serious contenders once again.