Robbie Williams to perform at World Cup opening ceremony

Robbie Williams to perform at World Cup opening ceremony

The Pharaohs fell in an arguably reasonable group, in their first World Cup appearance since 1990, alongside Uruguay, the hosts Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

By looking at the trends, statistics and patterns from tournaments past, BBC Sport has eliminated 31 nations and concluded which one will be crowned world champions. Brazil is in red-hot form after their wins over Germany and Croatia. He is also hoping for a Latin American final showdown between heavyweights Brazil and Argentina.

Brazilian optimism must, however, be tempered in the reality that Brazil enters nearly all major tournaments as favourites.

For most of us football fans, the name Diego Maradona rings a bell.

Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan warned France that a new, improved Australia team are plotting an early World Cup shock when the sides meet in Kazan on Saturday.

Three of the six experts have the Brazilian national team hoisting the trophy when it's all said and done.

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Traditionally one of the World Cup's real powerhouse nations having won the tournament in both 1978 and 1986, not to mention finishing runners-up in 1930, 1990 and 2014, City fans will undoubtedly be casting an eagle eye on the fortunes of La Albiceleste. It seems more of a stretch that Portugal's Rui Patricio will walk away with the Golden Glove.

France, boasting a lethal attack featuring Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in an attack-minded squad, also arrived in Russian Federation, seeking to win their second World Cup 20 years after their 1998 triumph.

On that occasion, champions France had a squad that averaged 22.77 caps per player. "For the moment what there is, is a World Cup with 32 teams being played". Shortly after, the team flew to Sochi, its base for the tournament, as those back in their homeland reacted to a win which impressed and boosted expectations of winning an unprecedented sixth world title.

Germany have an excellent recent World Cup pedigree.

There are others who are on the brink of being considered as contenders and a few years of improvement may result in them finally breaking the barrier.

Host nation Russian Federation, ranked a lowly 70th in the world, are under intense pressure as they prepare to open the tournament, after failing to win in seven consecutive games. Unless someone else does.

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