World Cup 2018 predictions: Our experts pick their winner for Russia

Telegraph Sport
Who are you backing to lift the World Cup in Russia - TASS

The World Cup kicks-off in Russia on June 14, and the usual suspects are among the nations most fancied to lift the famous trophy aloft in Moscow. 

Five-time world champions Brazil are marginal favourites ahead of Germany and Spain, with France, Argentina and Belgium completing the front-runners. 

England fans looking to back Gareth Southgate's men will get healthy odds on a first tournament victory since 1966. 

A south American team has never won the World Cup in Europe, while Germany are aiming to be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy.

This is who the experts are backing to prevail this summer.

Who will win it?

Paul Hayward (Chief sports writer) 

Brazil looked shot to bits four years ago, but have recovered and are blessed with match-winners. 

Jamie Carragher (Telegraph Sport columnist)

Brazil. Ready to make amends for four years ago. 

Jason Burt (Chief football correspondent)

There are favourites - including Germany, Spain, Argentina, Belgium and France - but Brazil have the strongest line-up and coach. 

World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more

Sam Wallace (Chief football writer)

Doubts remain over Didier Deschamps, but France have the players to go all the way. 

Alex Scott (Former England international and Telegraph Sport columnist)

Germany. Their blend of experience and the youth coming through, I think they look frightening. 

Jeremy Wilson (Deputy football correspondent)

Spain. Yes, they dipped after their golden era but the squad remains packed with vast quality in every position. 

Oliver Brown (Chief sport feature writer)

France. Blessed with depth and youth in all departments. 

Matt Law (Football news correspondent) 

Spain. 

2010 winners Spain are well-fancied again Credit: AFP

Jim White (Telegraph Sport writer)

France. Any side that is so endowed with attacking strength it can leave out Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette is on to something. 

James Ducker (Northern football correspondent)

Spain. They probably have the most balances team and are back in form. 

Ben Rumsby (Sports news correspondent)

Either Brazil or Germany, but I have a feeling it will be Brazil. 

World Cup winners

England will reach the...

Paul Hayward 

The second round, or quarter-finals if the draw works out well. 

Jamie Carragher

Quarter-finals. That would be a good achievement. 

Jason Burt

Quarter-finals. Getting out of the group is the minimum and getting through a knockout tie - at least one - would be one.

Sam Wallace

Quarter-finals, providing they can make use of their attacking attributes and compensate for defensive weakness. 

Gareth Southgate leads one of England's youngest tournament squads Credit: Getty Images

Alex Scott

Quarter-finals. But once they come up against a top side, I can't see them progressing. 

Jeremy Wilson

Semi-finals. There is understandable pessimism, but the Champions League suggested that English players are better than we often think.

Oliver Brown

Quarter-finals. Even a runners-up finish in Group G likely to be rewarded with winnable second-round match against Colombia or Senegal. 

Matt Law 

Last-16. Quarter-finals would be seen as a successful tournament, but I suspect Gareth Southgate's team will fall just short of that goal. 

Jim White

The quarter-finals, after an encouraging group stage and a fluky victory over Colombia in the last-16.

How to predict a World Cup winner

James Ducker

Quarter-finals. And I'd say that would constitute a success. 

Ben Rumsby

Quarter-finals. They should, anyway. The draw could hardly have been made easier for them. 

Which big team will flop?

Paul Hayward 

France. Plenty of good players, but Didier Deschamps may be a handicap. 

Jamie Carragher

Portugal. Euro 2016 winners but I can't see the same impact here.

Jason Burt

Portugal. They can never be ruled out with Cristiano Ronaldo, but the European champions do look limited. 

Can Didier Deschamps extract the most from France's talented squad. Credit: Getty Images

Sam Wallace

Belgium have the players, but of all the bug guns they seem the most dysfunctional. 

Alex Scott

France. It will go one way or the other with the. But there is always a row in them.

Jeremy Wilson

Germany's World Cup record is extraordinary, but with doubts over Manuel Neuer's fitness, they are not the force they were four years ago. 

Oliver Brown

Portugal. Far too reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Matt Law 

Argentina. Unless Lionel Messi can carry the team on his own, then Jorge Sampaoli's team may struggle.

Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more

Jim White

Brazil. A surfeit of talent, for sure, but the risk is they will not cohere. 

James Ducker

I'm not sure about flop, but something irrational is telling me France may disappoint. 

Ben Rumsby

Doubt any will, but England are the most likely to. 

Who will win the Golden Boot?

Paul Hayward 

Neymar has returned fresh and is a decent bet at 12-1.  

Jamie Carragher

Neymar. Fit again and sure to be a star of the tournament. 

Jason Burt

Lionel Messi. It's his last chance at a World Cup. Or Neymar. Outside bet? Timo Werner of Germany, or even Harry Kane. 

Sam Wallace

Robert Lewandowski is a great striker in his prime and with tournament experience.  

Could Neymar lead Brazil to glory Credit: Reuters

Alex Scott

Thomas Muller. Germany didn't get the Golden Boot when they won it in 2014, but this time you can't dismiss what Muller can do. 

Jeremy Wilson

France should go far into the tournament and Antoine Griezmann is among the most consistent forwards in the world.

Oliver Brown

Antoine Griezmann. The most coveted striker in Europe for a reason. 

Matt Law 

Romelu Lukaku. I expect Belgium to go far and and Lukaku to score a lot of goals. 

Jim White

Sergio Aguero, with a couple of hat-tricks along the way.

James Ducker

Lionel Messi. Fourth time lucky. 

Ben Rumsby

Neymar. Will be on a mission after the agony of four years ago. 

WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article