World Cup predictions: Sportsmail’s experts have

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The stage is almost set for this year’s World Cup to begin in Qatar, with the hosts due to kickoff their winter showpiece against Ecuador on Sunday.

While it has been engulfed by controversy, some of the biggest stars on the planet have flocked to the Middle East to battle it out in the major tournament – but who will prevail?

We asked Sportsmail’s team of experts for their World Cup winners, dark horses, breakout stars and more ahead of Sunday’s curtain raiser.

Sportsmail has asked its team of experts for a series of predictions before the Qatar World Cup

Sportsmail has asked its team of experts for a series of predictions before the Qatar World Cup

World Cup winner?

Graeme Souness – ARGENTINA

Brazil have a good group of players and the Germans always turn up for tournaments but Argentina have a very good chance. 

Micah Richards – BRAZIL

There are questions about their defence but their attack is phenomenal and they have been unbeatable — albeit without facing European opponents — for two years.

Martin Keown – BRAZIL

I was like a big kid this week filling in my World Cup wallchart with my predictions. In the end, it came down to a Brazil-France final. If that comes to fruition, Brazil win it. 

Graeme Souness expects Argentina to win the tournament despite fierce competition

Graeme Souness expects Argentina to win the tournament despite fierce competition

But Brazil appear to be the most common pick amongst our panel of writers and columnists

But Brazil appear to be the most common pick amongst our panel of writers and columnists

Chris Sutton – FRANCE

They can be first the country since Brazil (’58 and ’62) to win it back to back. It’s Messi and Ronaldo’s last dance on the biggest stage, but I can see Mbappe making it his tournament 

Ian Ladyman – BRAZIL

Have you seen their forward line? It’s extraordinary and as long as the five-time winners do not implode, there is no reason why they should not lift the trophy again. 

Sami Mokbel – BRAZIL

Have you seen their forward line? It’s extraordinary and as long as the five-time winners do not implode, there is no reason why they should not lift the trophy again. 

Matt Barlow – BRAZIL

Oodles of attacking flair. Settled and solid…

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