Five World Cup favourites, from Neymar’s Brazil to title-holders France

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Will the World Cup in Qatar deliver back-to-back wins for France, a record sixth title for Brazil, a perfect send-off for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, or none of the above? FRANCE 24 takes a look at five favourites to win football’s top trophy in Qatar – and the outsiders who could spring a surprise.

The FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday, November 20, with defending champions France hoping to become the first team to win consecutive tournaments since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.

While “Les Bleus” rank among the tournament’s hot favourites, they will be well aware that recent World Cup history has been unkind to title-holders.

Here’s a look at the squads with the best chance of going all the way, from the in-form teams to the World Cup stalwarts one can never write off.

France: title holders weakened by injuries

Four years after their triumph in Moscow, France go into the World Cup as the defending champions and the bookmakers’ second favourites after Brazil. Les Bleus, who also picked up the Nations League title last year, are blessed with an abundance of talent. Their main asset is undoubtedly the front line, with the formidable duo of Kylian Mbappé and Ballon d’Or laureate Karim Benzema leading the attack, backed by the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and dependable veteran Olivier Giroud.

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