The sweepstakes are being competed, the tv schedules have been cleared and  people across the world are planning their tactical sick days…….it is time for the 2018 FIFA World cup!

What can we expect from this years tournament and who are the most likely winners? Given their run of form, the desire for revenge and the sheer firepower to hand, it is hard to look past Brazil. With the best goalkeeper in the competition and a defence which is more impressive than usual foe a Brazil side, they will be hard to beat and hard to stop scoring!

Germany made have something to say! When they can leave players with the quality of Leory Sane at home, then the Germans know they have an abundance of talent at their disposal. They have a killer instinct, a way to win and always fold into a unit that can beat anyone on their day!

Can the old masters of Spain cover themselves in glory again? With new faces, old hands and a solid defence, with a knowledge and experience of winning, it would be foolish to rule them out, but one cannot help but feel that  they would have to play beyond themselves and over perform to win it!

Italy, the old masters, the Azzuri…..count them out at your peril. Gone are the days when they can count the worlds best in their line up, but when they function as such a strong defensive unit as they normally do, they will cause anyone trouble!

France have one of the most impressive squads on paper but this  collection of players have never seemed to click. If they can get Pogba, Griezmann and company playing from the same hymn sheet, the team can cause problems for anyone and everyone! I would be happy with France in a sweepstake or Sportsbook.

A lot of football pundits are looking at the 17 game unbeaten run of Belgium and saying it points to a good run at the World Cup for Lukaku, Hazard and company. Yes, much like France they have the capability on paper of matching anyone player for player, but the team has never clicked and with so many “big name players” the struggle is always to find the balance.

Messi vs Ronaldo may come back into debate again as both of the players, perhaps the greatest the world has ever seen, line up for their countries. Ronaldo has tasted victory internationally and will be hungry for more, but perhaps too many weak links in the team overall will stop him. Messi’s moment you feel came 4 years ago, but if the Flea can produced his best form, he can be the difference in taking a weaker than normal Argentinian side into the World Cup Final and beyond.

Will Pele’s ongoing prediction that we will soon see an African nation win the trophy come true? Based on recent form its unlikely and perhaps we have the weakest collection of African teams in recent memory, but on their day they are always good for a upset.

Whatever happens and wherever the trophy ends up being flown back to, we are in for a tournament of memories, highlights and hopefully some edge of your seat football!

If you are just as excited as us why not trying this top class World Cup Quiz to pass some time