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Russia 2018 World Cup: how the main contenders are shaping up (Ⅰ)

From a rejuvenated Brazil to France’s incredible strength in depth, we look at the frontrunners’ starting XIs to see how they comparePlayers set to light up next year’s World Cup (clockwise from left): Gabriel Jesus of Brazil, Argentina’s Paulo Dybala, Marco Verratti of Italy and France’s Antoine Griezmann. Composite: Getty Images; LatinContent/Getty The World Cup is only 15 months away and, with the latest round of qualifying games around the corner, we look at some of the teams expected to challenge for the trophy in Russia. The usual suspects – Argentina, Brazil and Germany – are expected to go far but France and Belgium, player-by-player, have arguably more impressive squads.Argentina Brazil are top of the South American qualifying, having been rejuvenated under Tite’s stewardship with Argentina languishing in fifth with a crucial game against Chile coming up on Thursday. In Europe, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium are the only teams yet to drop points with England, Spain, France, Poland, Republic of Ireland and Croatia also topping their groups.The African teams are only two games into their third qualifying round with DR Congo, Nigeria and Egypt leading the way with six points from their opening fixtures while in Asia Iran lead one of the two groups with Saudi Arabia and Japan joint top of the other.Here are some of the main contenders, in order of Fifa’s latest rankings, and their starting XIs if all players were fit.Russland 2018 bietet die letzte Chance für Lionel Messi, den unbestrittenen König des Fußballs gekrönt zu werden, da Maradona 1986 in Mexiko war - zumindest das ist, was Fans in Argentinien fühlen. Das Spiel gegen Chile am Donnerstag in Buenos Aires ist wirklich ein Finale auf dem Weg zur WM; Es ist ein Muss-Sieg. Edgardo Bauza, der neue Cheftrainer, hat bisher keine Änderungen vorgenommen. Er beschloss, die gleichen Spieler zu halten, wie Tata Martino und Alejandro Sabella in den vergangenen sechs Jahren aussahen. Die große Frage ist, ob diese Gruppe von außergewöhnlichen Spielern wie Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María, Sergio Agüero, Javier Mascherano und Messi endlich Weltmeister werden kann, obwohl sie in den vergangenen drei Jahren drei Hauptfinale verloren hatte (Brasilien 2014, Copa América in Chile in 2015 und wieder in den USA im Jahr 2016).Juan Carlos Pasman.Possible breakthrough at Russia 2018 Mauro Icardi (Internazionale).World ranking 1.Odds to win World Cup 8-1.Next match Chile, 23 March.

31.3.17 11:05

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