The 2018 World Cup kicked off last night, with hosts Russia throttling Saudi Arabia by five goals to nil. With still a month of football left ahead, let's hear from our Tribalfootball team to get their predictions for who will take home the Jules Rimet trophy…
Belgium: With so many teams so even, this World Cup is really set up for one individual to grab the tournament and lead his nation to glory. More than any other contender, Belgium have the individuals to make this happen. Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens are all capable of something exceptional over the next month.
Brazil: Although there will still be a reliance on Neymar, Tite has managed to build a more balanced Selecao outfit than four years ago. Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino provide enough firepower up front, with Paulinho being able to pitch in with his deep runs from midfield. I see the final being a rematch of the 2014 semi between Brazil and Germany, with the South American powerhouse ready to atone for that dreadful loss.
Germany: Spain's managerial change has dented their chances of lifting the trophy in a tournament that is invariably won by the nation with the best defence. Brazil's back four probably won't be strong enough to win the tournament, leaving Germany to become the first nation to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962.
Brazil: Tite has built a very solid Brazil side. They're extremely difficult to break down, and have immense attacking talent. On top of that their group stage draw seems, on paper, quite good, and they could avoid the likes of Germany and Spain all the way to the final. I think Brazil will not only win the tournament, but rediscover some of the forgotten flair along the way.
Germany: Based on their showing in the last World Cup, I think we'll see our first back to back World Cup champions since 1962. Precision, efficiency and downright domination of Brazil 2014 makes it hard to see past the Germans, who'll have a chip on their shoulder after losing the semi finals of UEFA Euro 2016.
Brazil: After qualifying in impressive fashion, things look to have fallen into place at the right time for the South Americans. The likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus should be able to spur their national side to victory, so long as they can put the mental trauma of that 7-1 game behind them.
Brazil: They've got the right balance of experience and talent along with a desire to make up for their epic 7-1 loss in the last world cup. Their attacking line up of Neymar, Jesus, Willian, Firmino and Coutinho will prove to be too much for their opponents to handle.
Spain: If there's one team that can go on to win the World Cup with or without an experienced manager, it would have to be Spain. Having the perfect starting XI as well as many talented individuals to utilise from the bench, La Roja should have no difficulties at all in winning their second World Cup of all time. In the end, a potential final between Spain and either Brazil or Germany is possible, where the former's midfield will be too dangerous and explosive for the latter.