From a rejuvenated Brazil to Frances incredible strength in depth, we look at the frontrunners starting XIs to see how they compare
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.
Brazil are top of the South American qualifying, having been rejuvenated under Tites 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 Fifas latest rankings, and their starting XIs if all players were fit.