We correctly called Germany to win the World Cup four years ago but must admit there are many more top teams competing for football’s most prestigious prize this summer.
Brazil head to Eastern Europe as the bookmakers’ favourites, and with good reason we believe. Current manager Tite led the team to seven consecutive victories to start their qualifying campaign before the South American nation became the first to secure a qualification spot.
They have a mouth-watering attack that is likely to be a front three of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Willian, supported by Philippe Coutinho and runs into the box from Paulinho. The latter two are coming off excellent seasons with Barcelona, or at least the second half of the season with the La Liga club for Coutinho.
Defensively they are stronger than they were four years ago. Fernandinho and Casemiro are in the side to protect the back four. Marcelo loves bombing forward down the left but is a more all-around player these days. They have an experienced centre-back pairing of Thiago Silva and Miranda, though Dani Alves has been lost to injury on the right.
Whilst Brazil haven’t got a huge amount of depth, they are one of two picks for us to go all the way in Russia this summer.
Germany are the second favourites and with good reason. Whilst it took extra-time to beat Argentina in the final four years ago, they never looked like losing versus Lionel Messi and co.
Joachim Low keeps a wealth of experience from the tournament in Brazil with Manuel Neuer expected to be fit in time to start in goal, protected by the same defensive duo of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.
The centre of midfield has World Cup winners too – Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil are likely to start this summer too. Julian Draxler was part of the squad four years ago and is expected to start on the left this time. Thomas Muller heads to Russia with 10 World Cup goals already behind his back.
Miroslav Klose may be retired now but youngster Timo Werner has had two excellent seasons with RB Leipzig and has full confidence from his coach to lead the line. He’s quick, makes intelligent runs and is a goalscorer.
Germany also have depth all over the pitch with the likes of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Nicklas Sule, Marco Reus and Mario Gomez all only expected to be on the bench for most of the tournament.