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Top 5 contenders for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

111.01K   //    17 Sep 2017, 15:10 IST

The 2018 Fifa World Cup on display

It barely seems like a few days ago, when Mario Gotze's left-footed volley in Rio de Janeiro gave Germany their fourth world cup win. It's been more than three years since that memorable tournament that provided us with so many remarkable moments.

Whether it was defending champions Spain being knocked out in the group stages, Costa Rica finishing above England, Uruguay and Italy in Group D, or the infamous 7-1 thrashing of the hosts by Germany, the 2014 FIFA World Cup provided us with lots of drama.

With the qualifying stages for the 2018 edition almost wrapped up, and less than a year for the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet to kick off in Russia, we take a look at the top five contenders to take home the most coveted title in world football.

#5 Brazil

Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier
Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier

The South American giants may not have been in their best form in 2014, but that was a team heavily dependent on Barcelona superstar Neymar. His spinal injury against Colombia was a defining moment not just for Brazil, but for rest of the tournament as well.

With the hosts lacking an attacking outlet up front, they were demoralised and toothless in the loss to Germany. Once the first goal went in, the others followed automatically, and it soon became a matter of how many.

But this time, they are much better off. Neymar has an added four years of experience and has since become the world's most expensive player, valued at €222 million.

His Paris Saint-Germain teammates Thiago Silva and Marquinhos form the spine of Brazil's defence, and they have more options up front - Liverpool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus.

Their midfield is the only facet stopping them from being higher up this list. They have only three truly world-class players in the centre of the pitch in Fernandinho, Casemiro and Paulinho, but even they are inferior when compared with some of their other competitors.

However, a good coach can certainly work wonders with this current squad. Currently ranked number 2 in the FIFA rankings, Brazil must not be discounted.

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