“My team is out of World Cup. Who should I support now?”, “I don’t want to watch every game but which teams should I pay particular attention to?”
Worried about who to get behind in Russia for whatever reason? Fear no more because I am going to guide you in your choice of who to back by taking a look at some of the stand-out contenders playing at this summer’s tournament
GermanyEmbed from Getty Images
There is no other place to start other than with the reigning world champions as they look to become the first country since Brazil in 1962 to defend their title.
Germany however enter the tournament with just one win from their six games so far in 2018, luckily beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their final friendly last weekend.
That win came following the shock decision to omit Manchester City’s Leroy Sane from the finalised squad, so could it be a decision that costs them in the knockout stages?
Nevertheless, Joachim Low has an impressive squad available to choose from with Red Bull Leipzig’s Timo Werner amongst the hotly anticipated prospects to watch out for alongside established names like Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez.
It’s also important to remember that despite their form, Germany aren’t World Champions for no reasons so expect them to be firmly in mix if can get out of a tricky looking Group F.
This French squad is probably one of the most intriguing squads at this summer’s tournament.
Across the squad, there is a youthful feeling with youngsters like Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso and Kylian Mbappe selected.
Oliver Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, Steve Mandanda and Adil Rami will be providing the experience for a squad, whose age average is 25 years and six months old.
That makes one of the most inexperienced countries in Russia this summer yet most intriguing to watch out for over course of tournament.
This is Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ and with the wealth of quality and international club experience within their squad, should definitely go deep as dark horses.
Eight different leagues are represented in this Belgium squad, giving them an enriching depth in quality which will potentially help them in the knockout stages.
It could in fact help them in their final group game against England because 11 players including Kevin de Bruyne pry their club trade in the Premier League, giving them that knowledge of how to beat likes of Harry Kane and co.
They also have a manager in Roberto Martinez who is experiencing his first World Cup as a manager and has a decent win record of 68.4% in charge of the Belgians.
Overall if you love backing an underdog then Belgium is the perfect team to get behind with their pool of talent, from Kevin de Bruyne to Romelu Lukaku to Vincent Kompany to name but a few.
Under the new regime of Julen Lopetegui, Spain successfully qualified for Russia unbeaten and are sure to be back in the title mix.
Gone is Vicente del Bosque and Tiki-Taka tactics and in comes the selection of in form players and slick football.
With the likes of David de Gea, Diego Costa and Nacho Monreal all in the squad and a false forward style to peel open defences, this Spanish side looks like it could well be a real contender to back with a fine mix of youth and experience.
There is little doubt that Brazil will be serious contenders given how strong they have been defensively in qualifying.
They also boast a strong attacking squad and have suffered only one defeat since Tite arrived in September 2016, giving Brazil a 80% win rate under the ex Corinthians boss.
With such impressive form, you wouldn’t want to bet against them going deep but any slip up from them or Germany could create a blockbuster Round of 16 clash, with one of those two contenders making an early exit.
Last November, the Guardian’s Jon Cotterill did a piece about Brazil under Tite and hinted that if there is any fault that could stop the team, it is how ‘very settled’ they are. That suggests that should any key player pick up a major injury then problems could very well open up if struggle for ideas.
Despite that concern, Brazil definitely are still a team to consider backing given the quality in their squad with Neymar and co but if thinking about getting behind them, might want to hold off till know their knockout route first.
Now, who are you backing to win the World Cup? Please leave a comment below or head over to our Twitter page to have your say.