It’s 2018, which means it’s FIFA World Cup year! For the first time in history, Russia will host soccer’s most important tournament. After battling for a spot during the continental qualifiers, only 32 national teams made it to the final competition. But out of all of them, which teams stand out? Which ones have a real shot at the championship? Let’s find out!

Honorable Mentions


Having the best player in the world in your squad sure helps, but can Lionel Messi carry his nation to the title? There’s talent around him on the attack, but the defense is filled with questions marks and recent poor performances.


After lifting the trophy in 2010, La Roja was truly disappointing in the 2014 campaign. However, a new generation emerged and the Spaniards can be a good surprise this year.

Contender #1 – Germany

Really, sometimes it feels like the Germans always finish (at least) on the Top 4. And after winning it all on the last World Cup, the Nationalmannshaft continues to be one of the favorites to win it again. Some key players retired from the national team, but there’s always new talent. The biggest concern is the goalkeeper. There’s no guarantee that Manuel Neuer will be fit to play and losing the best keeper in the world isn’t good news, even if you still have some nice reserves (we’re sorry, Marc-André ter Stegen). But the team as a whole is still very solid, with good players in all positions. After all, this has been Germany’s trademark all these years: building a strong unit instead of depending on two or three stars.

Contender #2 – Brazil

No, we didn’t forget what happened in 2014, when the Brazilian national team was on the losing side of the most humiliating match in World Cup history. But this is a very, very talented squad, led by PSG superstar Neymar. And it’s not just a matter of talent, too. Tite, Brazil’s coach, is a great strategist and, after implementing his new philosophy, the Brazilian team showed an enormous tactical improvement. The defense is solid, the midfield has some interesting options and the attack has some of the most dynamic forwards in the world – Firmino and Gabriel Jesus, to name a few. The question is: can the players overcome the 7-1 trauma?

Contender #3 – France

What a great generation it is! From 1 to 11, this squad is filled with top players. Coming from a Euro Final (lost to Portugal), the French side has matured in the recent years. A mix of physical strength and talent make this one of the most complete teams right now. Names like Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann aren’t at their top form, but they can definitely win games by themselves. And new faces like Adrien Rabiot, Ousmane Dembelé, and Kylian Mbappe may cause a great impact as well. And if everything goes wrong, they can still count on Hugo Lloris to stop opponent’s threats.

Of course, there’s always a possibility of a surprise. But these national teams are in good position to go all the way to the 2018 FIFA World Cup title. Let’s wait and see. After all, July 15th is just around the corner.