- Brazil has moved on from the overreliance on Neymar and currently have stars all over the pitch, which has fuelled the belief that they might win a record sixth title
- But watch out for Serbia, who have a well-functioning quartet led by the mesmerizing Ajax captain Dusan Tadic which makes them a dark horse
- Cameroon's Indomitable Lions are also stacked with attacking players, with Granit Xhaka looking to carry his Arsenal form to Switzerland
High-flying Brazil is expected to steamroll everyone in this group and perhaps go all the way and win a record sixth crown.
But here's why Switzerland, the dark horses in Serbia and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will be no pushovers when Tite takes charge of his last tournament as Brazil's manager.
Sports Brief takes a look at all 8 groups, their star attractions, weaknesses and strengths as Qatar gets ready to rumble. You can also read here for the analysis of Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E and Group F.
- Star player: Neymar
- Rising star: Vinicius Junior
- Coach: Tite
- Sports Brief's predicted finish: Finals
- FIFA Ranking: 1
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It is easy to understand why Brazil are considered the favourites for a sixth title in Qatar. The team is stacked with world-class talents all over the pitch, such that an unfortunate injury to Neymar won't have far-reaching ramifications like in 2014.
From the tricky Vinicius Junior to the silky Raphinha to the combative Richarlison to the all-rounded Gabriel Jesus, Brazil has game-changers all over.
Save for one position that often goes unnoticed: fullbacks. The situation is so dire that you can expect Eder Militao to start at right-back or the 39-year-old Dani Alves.
The problem went unnoticed in qualification, but against high-profile European sides, it could become their waterloo. Just imagine a marauding Kylian Mbappe face-to-face with Alves.
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But apart from that, Brazil is literally set. Questions are still asked about the omission of an on-form Firmino, but Jesus' start to life at Arsenal shows that he can link up play as well as Firmino does.
Much of the play is set to go through Neymar, who is expected to play as a number 10 to allow Vinicius to exploit the left wing using his explosive pace.
At the back, veteran pair Thiago Silva and Marquinhos could be impermeable on their day while expect Alisson to get the nod over Ederson Moraes. Were it not for Alisson, Liverpool's stuttering start to the season could have been worse.
Possible XI; Alisson; Militao, Marquinhos, Silva, Sandro; Casemiro, Paqueta; Vinicius, Neymar, Richarlison; Neymar
- Star player: Granit Xhaka
- Rising star: Noah Okafor
- Coach: Murat Yakin
- Sports Brief's predicted finish: Group Stage
- FIFA Ranking: 15
Granit Xhaka, alongside the likes of Miguel Almiron and Kepa Arrizabalaga, have been Premier League's redemption stories this season.
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The Arsenal man appeared to be lost at one point in his North London career but has anchored the Gunners to a surprise title challenge.
He is expected to captain his side in Qatar. They surprisingly dumped the reigning champions France, out of the Euro Championships. They also finished first in a group with Italy in qualification, which shows they do not fear the so-called big guns.
Apart from Xhaka, the Swiss squad has Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo, Yan Sommer and Manuel Akanji, whose personalities are an important factor in the collective nature of how they play.
Head Coach Murat Yakin's biggest successes came when he was Basel's boss in 2013 and 2014. He is expected to use the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Remo Freueler playing an important role alongside Xhaka in midfield.
Salzburg FC's Noah Okafor will be one talent to watch who can get off some of the goalscoring burden on Breel Embolo. Shaqiri's skills from dead balls remain a thing of beauty and it could be a tactic on its own in Qatar.
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Possible XI: Sommer; Akanji, Elvedi, Schar Rodriguez; Freuler, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Sow, Okafor; Embolo
- Star player: Dusan Tadic
- Rising star: Filip Kostic
- Coach: Dragan Stojkovic
- Sports Brief's predicted finish: Quarter-finals
- FIFA Ranking: 21
Now, these are the real dark horses. The ingenuity of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Dusan Tadic in initiating attacks, plus the reliable goal scorers in Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic, make Serbia a very dangerous team.
The quartet are ticking heart of Dragan Stojkovic's side. Serbia also has the luxury of Kostic, who has established a beautiful telepathy with both strikers with his deliveries that can turn the game right on its head.
Stojkovic is expected to use the 3-4-3 formation, with Tadic playing in a free role behind the lead strikers. He also has the luxury of calling up Luka Jovic from the bench in case the game is not going according to plan.
The formation gives them a lot of cover defensively, but the main tactic will be to try and outscore their opponents using their tried and tested and proven forward line.
Possible XI: Dmitrovic; Milenkovic, S Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Kostic, Lukic, Milinkovic-Savic; Tadic, Vlahovic, Mitrovic
- Star player: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
- Rising star: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa
- Coach: Rigobert Song
- Sports Brief's predicted finish: Group Stage
- FIFA Ranking: 43
In as much as the country's FA President, the legendary Samuel Eto is upbeat that the team will go all the way and win the World Cup, there is little evidence and hope that they will even make it past the group stage.
One major thing working for them at the moment is that Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is coming into the tournament as probably the most in-form player in the world.
The Bayern Munich striker is appearing to take the mantle from Robert Lewandowski and has scored 11 goals in October and November across all competitions.
But, Choupo-Moting has never worked out well in the same team as cult hero and captain Vincent Aboubakar. Whenever they play in the same squad, Choupo-Moting has to play as a number 10 to allow for Aboubakar and Karl-Toko Ekambi to operate upfront.
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There is also the issue of Bryan Mbeumo, who has been part of Brentford's rise to the Premier League. Head Coach Rigobert Song is spoilt for choice in his starting eleven and we have not even touched the likes of Moumi Ngamaleu and Christian Bassogog.
André-Frank Zambo Anguissa is another on-form player, the bedrock of Luciano Spalleti's midfielder at Napoli, who is terrorizing European teams at will.
Possible XI; Onana, Fai, Nkoulou, Casrelletto, Ebosse; Anguissa, Malong; Mbeumo, Choupo-Moting, Toko Ekambi; Aboubakar.
You can also read here for the analysis of Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E and Group F.