The World Cup winners tend to come from one of the traditional footballing powerhouses – there’s just never been a surprise, left-field winner of the most famous trophy in sport. Here we run the rule over some of the favourites for Russia 2018.
Germany – 9/2
World class players in every single position, born winners and a big tournament mentality, it’ll take an almighty effort from someone to stop Germany retaining their world champion status.
Midfield metronome Toni Kroos personifies the perfect blend of youth and experience of a side able to call upon legends like Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels alongside hungry young tyros Timo Werner and Julian Brandt
Brazil – 9/2
The big question with Brazil is what happens if and when they come up against Germany. The pressure on them to succeed at home in 2014 proved too much to bear, but in terms of pure talent this is one of the best Brazilian teams of recent years, and that’s saying something.
Thiago Silva, Casemiro and Fernandinho provide the steel to go alongside the style of Phillippe Coutinho, Willian and main man Neymar.
It’s a squad that has every chance of securing World Cup redemption.
France – 6/1
Blessed with outrageous talent all over the pitch and arguably the most gifted 23-man squad in Russia, France are many people’s pick for a first World Cup since their memorable triumph on home turf in 1998.
There are tiny question marks over their mental toughness but with Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé there are none whatsoever over their ability.
Spain – 6/1
Spain’s 2010 World Cup victory was the centre-piece of a stunning sequence of major tournament wins that saw them scoop Euro 2008 & Euro 2012 either side of that first world title in South Africa.
2010 hero Andres Iniesta is set for a glorious swansong, and with David de Gea behind Gerard Piqué and (Liverpool fans look away now) Sergio Ramos at the back, the likes of Iniesta, David Silva and Diego Costa are free to go about their business up top.
Argentina – 9/1
Let’s face it, without the genius of Lionel Messi, Argentina would be nowhere near the top of this list. That’s despite, joining Messi in attack they possess three other elite talents in Sergio Agüero, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain.
Despite the presence of veterans Javier Mascherano and Ángel Di María, with very little behind their awesome foursome La Albiceleste are decidedly top-heavy.