We have seen all 32 teams but despite the surprise 1-1 result against Switzerland, it is still Brazil, among the four favourites – Germany, Spain and Argentina – that looks like the likeliest winners.
Despite all the data available, it is always hard to predict who will win a football match, much less of a tournament but the Selecao with a functioning Neymar will take something special to get beaten in Russia.
Football is no respecter of ranking – whether it is the country ranked No.1 versus the one ranked No. 70, there are always 90 minutes in which many things [unintended] can happen.
Brazil, under Adenor Leonardo Bacchi [Tite], since he was installed in June 2016, has managed 22 matches for just the one loss – a 1-0 friendly defeat to Argentina in June 2017.
In that time, his team has scored 48 goals and conceded just six goals, scoring three or more goals in 10 matches. Situated in Group E, the Brazilians should have an easy passage against Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia.
If they top their group, they are likely to face either of Germany, Mexico, Sweden, or South Korea. Apart from Germany and Mexico, who would be stiff opponents, the other two countries cannot [at the moment] hold a candle to the five-time world champions.
Argentina looks overly dependent on Lionel Messi, with the supporting cast paling in comparison with what he plays with at Catalonia. Germany should recover from the 1-0 loss to Mexico though they look winded. For Spain, the squad looks like the ones who can really give Brazil a run for their money.
The dark horses – Belgium, Croatia, Portugal, and England — will do very well to get to the last four stage though it looks like managerial naivety will become an obstacle to some of these countries.
The African and Asian teams are in Russia to learn lessons that could help them put up a better fight in Qatar 2022!