World Cup 2018: Predicting how far each of the 32 teams will go
In just over a week's time, 32 nations will descend on Russia for the biggest celebration of football in the world.
The World Cup is the most exciting event in football,and the 2018 edition in Russia has all the potential to be one of the best of all time.
Several footballing giants will battle it out for the big prize, and there is sure to be a surprise or two along the way, but ultimately, 31 teams will fly home empty-handed, while one team will bask in the glory of being the World Champions for the next four years.
Predicting the outcome of a World Cup is a fools game, but it's something that every football fan likes to have a go at, and this year's tournament may be one of the most difficult to predict in recent memory.
Teams like Brazil, Germany, Spain and France are among the pre-tournament favourites while dark horses like Belgium, England and Portugal will secretly fancy their chances. Everyone's tournament has to end somewhere though, whether that is in the group stages, or with the trophy held high above their heads, so let's take a look through at each of the 32 teams and predict how far each of them will go in the World Cup.
Russia - Group Stage
Despite the tournament taking place in their home, hosts Russia would do a good job to get out of the group phase of the tournament.
The Russian team have never managed to recapture the glory of their Euro 2008 run, where they reached the semi-finals with stars like Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko in their side.
Russia will have enough in their tank to beat Saudi Arabia in the tournament's opening game, but it seems unlikely that they will be able to battle their way out of a group that features the much more fancied Uruguay and Egypt.
Saudi Arabia - Group Stage
Russia's opponent on the opening day, Saudi Arabia are likely to be the whipping boys of Group A.
The Saudis are the lowest ranked side in the tournament, and this will be their first appearance at the World Cup finals since 2006, where they only picked up one point. They did only just lose 1-0 to Spain however, in one of the tournaments more surprising results.
Their most promising player is Fayad Al-Muwallad, who scored the goal that secured their place in the finals. Sadly for him, he is sharing a group with Mo Salah and Luis Suarez, who are very likely to outshine him here.
Russia are likely to take the third spot in this group, which means Saudi could well finish the tournament with zero points.
Egypt - Round of 16
Like Uruguay, Egypt has the misfortune of facing either the winner or the runner-up of Group B, which features both Spain and Portugal.
If the groups play out as most are predicting, Egypt will be facing Spain in the round of 16, and while Mohamed Salah is one of the most in-form players in the world right now, it seems unlikely that one man alone will be unable to stop Spain.
Egypt should progress comfortably from the group, and if Mo Salah can perform on the big stage as well as he done all season, then there is a chance that the African side could cause an upset, but it seems likely that they will be leaving Russia after the first knock-out stages here.
Uruguay - Round of 16
With Salah set to miss Egypt's opening game of the tournament against Uruguay, the South American side will be hoping to take full advantage and seal top spot in Group A.
If this is the case, then they will face the runners-up of Group B, which will likely be Portugal. A clash between the two sides will no doubt be an interesting one, and there are certainly parallels to be drawn between both teams.
Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani will be key to Uruguay's success in Russia, but if Cristiano Ronaldo is firing on all cylinders, then the European Champions are most likely to come out as victors and progress to the quarter-finals.
A lot of Uruguay's failures in the past have been down to Luis Suarez's inability to behave himself on the big stage, and that could prove costly for them again in Russia.