FOUR-AND-A-HALF years since the last World Cup in Russia, football’s greatest showpiece returns TOMORROW.

Can Gareth Southgate’s England replicate the Lionesses’ Euros success from the summer to win the tournament for the first time since 1966?

France won the 2018 World Cup... and are backed by many to retain their crown

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France won the 2018 World Cup… and are backed by many to retain their crownCredit: AFP
England reached the semi-finals in 2018

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England reached the semi-finals in 2018Credit: Getty

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The Three Lions have been predicted to go well at this year’s World Cup by SunSport’s team of columnists and reporters.

Although there is a strong South American flavour to the predicted winners, with Argentina and Brazil strongly fancied, while current holders France have split opinion.

This year’s winners will be crowned in Lusail on December 18, a week before Christmas Day.

And SunSport’s columnists and reporters run through their top picks ahead of the big kick off on Sunday.

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Jack Wilshere

The former Three Lions midfielder isn’t buying the negativity around the Germany team, and reckons they will have a good tournament despite their recent struggles.

But it still won’t be enough to triumph over England, who the ex-Arsenal star has backed to win the tournament.

  • Winners: England
  • Dark horses: Germany
  • Biggest underachievers: France
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Phil Foden (England)
  • Breakout star: Jude Bellingham (England)

Tony Adams

Former England captain Tony Adams’ heart says the Three Lions will end the wait for a first World Cup since 1966 in Qatar.

And the ex-Arsenal defender is backing Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka to fire Gareth Southgate and Co to glory.

  • Winners: England
  • Dark horses: Spain
  • Biggest underachievers: France
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Bukayo Saka (England)
  • Breakout star: Pedri (Spain)

Ledley King

Ex-Tottenham and England defender has tipped Lionel Messi to lead Argentina to World Cup glory in his final World Cup.

But keep an eye on Denmark, who were excellent on their run to the Euros semi-finals last year, where they took England to extra-time.

  • Winners: Argentina
  • Dark horses: Denmark
  • Biggest underachievers: Belgium
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  • Breakout star: Jude Bellingham (England)

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Jude Bellingham is expected to star for the Three Lions

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Jude Bellingham is expected to star for the Three LionsCredit: Getty

Dave Kidd

France may have lifted the trophy four years ago, but SunSport’s chief sports writer reckons Les Bleus will underachieve this time around in Qatar.

  • Winners: Argentina
  • Dark horses: Denmark
  • Biggest underachievers: France
  • Top scorer: Neymar (Brazil)
  • Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  • Breakout star: Jamal Musiala (Germany)

Martin Lipton

SunSport’s chief sports reporter has tipped Aussie teenager Garang Kuol to be the breakout star of the tournament.

The 18-year-old has just one Socceroos cap to his name but is tipped to be a star of the future… so it’s a good thing Newcastle have already snapped him up.

  • Winners: Argentina
  • Dark horses: Senegal
  • Biggest underachievers: France
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  • Breakout star: Garang Kuol (Australia)
Australian Garang Kuol, who will officially join Newcastle in January, could rise to stardom in Qatar

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Australian Garang Kuol, who will officially join Newcastle in January, could rise to stardom in QatarCredit: Getty

Charlie Wyett

Watch out England, because SunSport’s football editor has Group B opponents USA as the ones to watch this tournament.

  • Winners: Brazil
  • Dark horses: USA
  • Biggest underachievers: Germany
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Neymar (Brazil
  • Breakout star: Jude Bellingham (England)

Phil Thomas

SunSport’s senior sports feature writer has tipped reported Manchester United target Enzo Fernandez for big things in Qatar.

The 21-year-old Argentinian has been superb for Benfica this season.

  • Winners: Argentina
  • Dark horses: Switzerland
  • Biggest underachievers: Germany
  • Top scorer: Kylian Mbappe (France)
  • Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  • Breakout star: Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)

Dan King

Japan have never gone further than the round of 16 at the World Cup, but SunSport senior football writer has backed the Samurai Blue to have a good tournament.

The same can’t be said for Germany, who are aren’t very well backed by anyone to be a success in Qatar.

  • Winners: Brazil
  • Dark horses: Japan
  • Biggest underachievers: Germany
  • Top scorer: Kylian Mbappe (France)
  • Most assists: Neymar (Brazil)
  • Breakout star: Gavi (Spain)

Tom Barclay

SunSport reporter Tom Barclay reckons France will have too much for everyone in Qatar and win the tournament with the top scorer, top assister and breakout star.

  • Winners: France
  • Dark horses: Denmark
  • Biggest underachievers: Portugal
  • Top scorer: Karim Benzema (France)
  • Most assists: Kylian Mbappe (France)
  • Breakout star: Eduardo Camavinga (France)
Eduardo Camavinga joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2021 in a deal that could rise to £34millon

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Eduardo Camavinga joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2021 in a deal that could rise to £34millonCredit: Alamy

Neil Custis

Year after year of World Cup heartbreak will finally end in Qatar this winter, according to SunSport writer Neil Custis.

And skipper Harry Kane will be the man to fire the Three Lions to glory as tournament top scorer.

  • Winners: England
  • Dark horses: Holland
  • Biggest underachievers: Spain
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  • Breakout star: Jamal Musiala (Germany)

Mark Irwin

SunSport’s chief sports feature writer reckons Belgium’s golden generation will fail once again, having missed out at the semi-final stage in 2018.

  • Winners: Argentina
  • Dark horses: Denmark
  • Biggest underachievers: Belgium
  • Top scorer: Karim Benzema (France)
  • Most assists: Angel Di Maria (Argentina)
  • Breakout star: Vinicius Jr (Brazil)

Jordan Davies

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to lead Portugal at what will be his FIFTH World Cup finals, but SunSport reporter Jordan Davies reckons it will be one to forget for the Manchester United star.

  • Winners: Argentina
  • Dark horses: Switzerland
  • Biggest underachievers: Portugal
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  • Breakout star: Jude Bellingham (England)

Andy Dillon

Kylian Mbappe will put his Paris Saint-Germain woes behind him when he dons the France shirt in Qatar, according to SunSport reporter Andy Dillon.

The superstar forward has been backed to fire Les Bleus to glory for a second consecutive tournament.

  • Winners: France
  • Dark horses: Holland
  • Biggest underachievers: Germany
  • Top scorer: Kylian Mbappe (France)
  • Most assists: Benjamin Pavard (France)
  • Breakout star: Jamal Musiala (Germany)
Four-time winners Germany aren't enjoying a golden generation of football

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Four-time winners Germany aren’t enjoying a golden generation of footballCredit: Reuters

Oscar Paul

Brazil are well fancied to make it six World Cup triumphs come the final in Lusail seven days before Christmas.

SunSport reporter Oscar Paul can’t see past Tite’s side, especially if Neymar can translate his stunning PSG form onto the world stage.

  • Winners: Brazil
  • Dark horses: Serbia
  • Biggest underachievers: Germany
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  • Breakout star: Aurelien Tchouameni (France)

Jack Rosser

The SunSport reporter is one out of the two writers and four tipsters overall backing the Three Lions to go all the way.

And watch out for Danish winger Andreas Skov Olsen, 22, who has scored eight goals already this season for Belgian outfit Club Brugge.

  • Winners: England
  • Dark horses: Denmark
  • Biggest underachievers: Portugal
  • Top scorer: Harry Kane (England)
  • Most assists: Lautaro Martinez (Argentina)
  • Breakout star: Andreas Skov Olsen (Denmark)
Andreas Skov Olsen could be a danger man for Denmark

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Andreas Skov Olsen could be a danger man for DenmarkCredit: Reuters



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