To say the World Cup has thrown up a few surprises is an understatement. It’s a tournament that’s perhaps given us more talking points than ever before.
Of course, that’s mainly down to VAR, but there has also been plenty to discuss when it comes to the major nations challenging for the title.
Very few have made a safe passage through the Group Stage. France, Croatia, Belgium and England are perhaps the only three who have had little to worry about, while the likes of Argentina, Germany and Spain have all struggled.
With the Group Stage almost complete, we take a look at how the pre-tournament favourites have performed so far.
The Brazilians are still favourites to win the World Cup, despite a slow start to the tournament. They failed to take an opening fixture win and looked slow in possession against Costa Rica.
They sit top of their group though, but that could mean Germany await in the Round of 16.
Most bookies still have them at around 9/2 and you can click here to visit Top100bookmakers for all the latest Brazil tips and offers.
You expect there’s more to come from the South Americans. Neymar’s goal to get him off the mark against Costa Rica could be big for them, and they could well kick on and do what they do best.
It’s been a frustrating tournament for Joachim Low’s men so far. They were on the brink of an early exit before Toni Kroos sensationally scored in the dying seconds to keep the dream alive.
That said, they’ve been poor so far. Disorganised at the back and a lack of bite up top makes them counter-attack fodder during the periods they aren’t passing it around in the midfield.
If they want to win the tournament, they need to find something. They’ve fallen to third favourites now. But of course, you never write off the Germans.
Spain’s World Cup campaign has been somewhat of a disaster. They lost their manager just 24 hours before the tournament started and have failed to exert any kind of dominance on the tournament.
They were fortunate to beat Iran in their second game and got a late equaliser against the Moroccans to take top spot in Group B.
Taking on Russia in the Round of 16, it is an opportunity to advance further in the tournament, and as most big sides do, they improve as they progress.
The Belgians have been in fine form so far this summer and have the ability to remove their dark horse tag and go all the way.
Romelu Lukaku is in top form in front of goal and they’ve had no problem dispatching the lesser sides in Group G, I like most other nations.
A Round of 16 tie looks favourable for Roberto Martinez’s men, and get through that and they’ll fancy facing anyone in the tournament.
Despite being one of the first teams through to the Round of 16, the French have been far from fluid and haven’t really lived up to their pre-tournament hype.
They are a side full of stars, none of which have yet to really shine. If Didier Deschamps can find the right formula on top of their knack of winning games, they could well go all the way.
Some members really need to step up though. Their single goal wins haven’t been convincing and those in Group D won’t be too afraid of facing Les Bleus in the knockout stages.