Cream of the crop: The teams that can actually win World Cup
The 21st FIFA World Cup is almost here.
Final squads for each of the 32 nations competing have been announced, with each arriving in Russia full of hope and dreaming of winning the greatest prize in football.
Of the 79 nations to have made at least one World Cup finals appearance only eight have ever gone all the way to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy, with Brazil standing alone as the most successful side in World Cup history with five triumphs.
We look at the teams most capable of becoming world champions in 2018.
Odds: $5.50 (Odds courtesy of Ladbrokes)
Germany are equal favourites to defend the title they earned four years ago in Brazil - and should they do so, would equal Brazil atop the World Cup leaderboard with five titles.
Intriguingly, after going down 2-1 in a friendly to Austria, the Germans are on their longest winless streak since 1988.
Regardless of form, the defending champs will be hard to beat in Russia, boasting a side jam-packed with quality players from across Europe's top clubs.
In midfield, Real Madrid's Toni Kroos will control the tempo as Arsenal star Mesut Ozil assumes the creative duties going forward. Meanwhile young gun Timo Werner is touted as the next great German striker, and already boasts seven goals in 12 appearances for his country at just 22 years old.
After an embarrassing 7-1 semi-final defeat at their home World Cup four years ago, Brazil are out for redemption.
Coach Tite has his star-studded side ready for a tilt at the title after baptising the demons of that national disaster.
Talisman Neymar has won his race against the clock to be fit for the showpiece tournament and is set to lead the line.
The PSG striker will be instrumental once again for the Brazilians, and supplemented by the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino in attack, the Samba boys are a mouth-watering prospect
After calamitous failures in each of their last two major tournaments - a group stage exit four years ago in Brazil and a round of 16 departure at Euro 2016 - 2010 World Cup champions are ready to re-emerge as an authoritative force.
Without a standout superstar, a supremely-talented Spanish group looks to have found a balance between youthful energy and experienced pillars, as Julen Lopetegui's side went undefeated through qualifying.
In fact, since Lopetegui took the reins following the Euros, La Roja have been imperious, undefeated in 12 outings.
With a spine consisting of mainstays Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, David Silva and Andres Iniesta, it's not difficult to see why they are widely favoured to excel in Russia.
France's remarkable depth has captivated the imagination of fans in the lead-up to the World Cup, but now it's time for Didier Deschamps' loaded squad to live up to the hype.
A quarter-final in the last World Cup and a Euro 2016 final defeat to Portugal have shown they're not far from major success, and this tournament shapes as their opportunity to build a platform for a new golden generation.
They'll face our Socceroos first up in Group C as the likes of strike triad Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe are unleashed.
They'll be serviced by N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso and others while Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti patrol the back line.
It's a seriously scary outfit, and one that will take some stopping in Russia.
Having fallen at the final hurdle four years ago, Argentina will be motivated to go one better in 2018.
However, they almost failed to secure another shot at the prize, sneaking through qualifying by just two points.
Fittingly, it was a Lionel Messi hat trick on the final day of qualifying against Ecuador that powered them to Russia, and the diminutive Barcelona star will no doubt shoulder their hopes once again.
In Brazil, Messi took home the golden ball for the tournament's best player, scoring four times and assisting once en route to the final. This time around he'll hope to be lifting the Jules Rimet trophy.
Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria all shape as key elements to their plans.
Belgium boast one of the most talented squads heading to Russia, with extensive Premier League experience strewn throughout Roberto Martinez's squad.
And yet, the Red Devils are still largely considered dark horses for the title, perhaps owing to their record at major tournaments.
They were quarter-finalists in 2014 and at Euro 2016, but now the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne will attempt to propel them into the depths of the World Cup.
It's time to deliver for this talented generation of Belgian talent, and there's no reason why they can't reach the semi-finals for the first time ever, or even go beyond. Much will depend on whether Martinez can get the best out of his legion of stars.