Ahead of the Final Draw to take place in Moscow, RT asked members of the French 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning squads what their World Cup predictions were. Their bets and top tips are as follows.
READ MORE: The State Kremlin Palace: Inside the World Cup Draw venue
Prominent French football players Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc spoke of the favourites, dark horses and possible top scorers who will shine at next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Favorites to win the World Cup
Marcel Desailly: Definitely Brazil and Germany. Germany because they showed great ability and skills with their second team to win the 2017 Confederations Cup. And Brazil if altogether at the same time they manage to play well. They have individual players, who can make the difference, and at the same time collectively they are very disciplined.
Laurent Blanc: Brazil and Germany and Spain, and maybe I hope France.
MD: I’m looking at Croatia. Also Sweden have surprised everyone, you know, on beating Italy collectively without having any individual players, but they made it.
LB: Maybe Denmark. Because Denmark had good players, I love [Andreas] Christensen.
LB: For me Neymar, because he wants [to reach] an incredible level. Also Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
MD: Neymar, he is the only one potentially who can shine behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. So we hope Neymar – and Mbappe, who is a French guy.
Opponents to avoid?
LB: For France, for Germany, for Brazil, for every team in the pot one, maybe, not to take on Spain, because if you take [on] Spain, the group will be very, very odd.
MD: Nigeria, Iran. There are teams that you think that it might be quite easy to play against.
LB: Nigeria is a good team, Costa Rica is a very good team, Egypt is a very good team. Be careful.
READ MORE:FIFA World Cup 2018 Final Draw – Your ultimate guide
The Word Cup Final draw will kick off on Friday at the State Kremlin Palace in which 32 of the world’s strongest football nations, who have earned spots in the tournament, will be allocated to eight groups. The ceremony will be hosted by the former English striker and Mexico 1986 Adidas Golden Boot winner, Gary Lineker, who will be assisted by Russian journalist Maria Komandnaya.
The 32 squads who have qualified for the football showpiece will be split into four pots in accordance with their FIFA world rankings in descending order, with each pot containing eight teams. Russia as the hosting nation was put in pot one, alongside the world’s top seven football squads.