By Diego Vasquez | Contributing Writer

Germany, shown above, will look to repeat as winners of the World Cup after taking the trophy in 2014. (Courtesy of

With the FIFA World Cup in Russia kicking off in less than 100 days, here is a guide to which countries have the best chances of making noise in the one-month tournament and which countries may disappoint their fans.


We start with the defending champions. Having won the World Cup in 2014, the Germans must be seen as the heavy favorites in Russia. They have an abundance of veteran players from their previous success, as well as young, up-and-coming stars, and that makes them the team to beat.


Champions in 2010, Spain was underwhelming in 2014, losing to the Netherlands and Chile in their group to crash out before the knockout round even began. Now, they have been able to mix their legends with newer players who are excited to prove themselves on the big stage. Expect them to improve considerably from 2014.


After a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup, in their own country no less, Brazil will be hoping to find their identity once again as the most successful country in World Cup history. Neymar will be the main man, but having just recently broken his foot, his other talented teammates will need to step up if Brazil wants to stand a chance.


The country that most consider to have the highest quality of young talent, with stars like Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, the French have big hopes ahead of the tournament. Though, the age-old issue remains for France: Will these players be able to play as a team? They were drawn in a tough group, with a solid Danish team and an unpredictable and dangerous Peruvian side looking to complicate things for France.


Captained by the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, Argentina made it all the way to the final of the last World Cup, but  they could not get the job done. Argentina’s aging squad knows this might be Messi’s final chance at World Cup glory. If they play as frustratingly and lethargically as they did in the qualifying round, don’t expect Messi to finally get that last major honor.


Captained by the other best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal goes into this tournament having just won their country’s first major trophy, the European Championship. With Portugal playing with confidence, their fans should feel optimistic, but a lack in quality throughout their team, aside from CR7, may prove costly further on in the tournament.


Led by some of the best players in the world, it is a wonder how Belgium has not had any success at a major tournament in recent years. If they can finally get players like Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne to gel together, they should be considered serious contenders come June.


The mighty England hopes that their young core will be able to shine in Russia. With star forward Harry Kane leading the line, anything is possible. However, this is England we are talking about, so expect them to be eliminated in a penalty shootout, probably at the hands of Germany.


Mexico’s fans should look towards this tournament with excitement, as their talented squad could surprise a few. While there are still question marks about manager Juan Carlos Osorio, players like Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Hirving “Chucky” Lozano will bring some life into this Mexican team. Plus, they eased through qualifying, and their major rival, the U.S., isn’t even in the tournament, so that must feel good.

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