The World Cup is here, and with it 32 teams will travel to Russia to play in football’s most prestigious tournament.

For many, the festivities and excitement of merely being present at football’s biggest event is enough to satisfy a nations hopes and expectations, but for some, the there is a single end goal: win, or it’s failure.

So without further ado, here are our top five candidates to take out the big prize in Russia.

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Brazil

It will be a surprise to some, that it is indeed Brazil and not Germany that tops this list. The South American heavyweights enter the competition on the back of topping South American qualifying and losing just one of eighteen matches along the way. With talent upfront in Roberto Firmino, Willian and Douglas Costa struggling to find a place in to starting line-up, this Brazil side has goals coming from all over the park. Add to that a defence that has conceded just once in their previous 10 matches and you have yourselves Brazil’s most balanced line up since their World Cup triumph in 2002.

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Germany

They may have to settle for second on this list, but this Germany team has the talent and experience to beat any team in the competition on their day. Like Brazil before them, Die Mannschaft has talent all through their lines, with much of 2014’s World Cup winning squad remaining on hand. Add to that a raft of newcomers such as Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and RB Leipzig marksmen Timo Werner and you can begin to understand why this team won all 10 of their World Cup qualifying matches.

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France

Runners up in Euro 2016, France will look to do one better in Russia as they field a team filled with both experience and youth. Strength in depth is key for this French outfit. When manager Didier Deschamps can struggle to find a place for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé in his starting line-up, you know you are up against serious contenders. Youngster Kylian Mbappe will look to steal headlines alongside the lethal Antoine Griezmann up front, in an attacking line up that oozes class. With a relatively straight forward group of Peru, Australia and Denmark ahead of them, this French team should be looking to head deep into the competition.

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Spain

Spain fans will be quietly anxious heading into this year’s tournament. They possess a side that is littered with talent across all areas of the park but somehow have struggled to put all the pieces together. Whether to start Diego Costa or Alvaro Morata up front will be the biggest headache for manager Julen Lopetegui. Both strikers have come off the back of troubling seasons for their respective clubs. Regardless of how far into the tournament they get, expect to see a huge send off for midfielder Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona legend will retire from international football come the end of the tournament.

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Argentina

Without Lionel Messi, there is a large chance Argentina wouldn’t have made this tournament. Teetering on the edge of qualifying, it was Messi’s hat-trick against Ecuador that sent the South Americans through to Russia. Messi will be the hero of this Argentinian team, but it is those around him that need to step up to the mark. Players such as Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuian, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria possess endless amounts of quality. Whether they can string it all together when the time comes will be the ultimate test for the two-time Champions.

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