BRAZIL should cruise through by winning Group E but deciding who joins them isn't easy.
Bookies can hardly split Switzerland and Serbia while Costa Rica can't be under-estimated even if they are rank outsiders.
I picked Brazil as potential winners earlier in the year but that was before Neymar's injury. For me and any backers it was could to see the PSG star mark his comeback with a stunning goals against Croatia at the weekend so all looks well on that front.
To top the section they are a biggest 4-11 with Paddy Power and it's a good one for accumulators.
Second place will probably be decided by the game between the Swiss and Serbia and the Serbs have the advantage of playing Brazil last and by then the favourites should be through.
Remarkably Switzerland are ranked sixth in the world and that's why these tables are a bit of a joke. They qualified well which is why only five sides in the world are rated better than them.
It's almost a toss of a coin but I'll take Serbia at 5-4 with McBookie to qualify ahead of the Swiss who are 11-10 with Betway.
Costa Rica were within a whisker of making the semis four years ago but on European soil I can't see a repeat. They have half a dozen or so players from Brazil but they won't surprise anyone but won't make it easy for the Swiss or Serbs.
They are 9-2 with McBookie to qualify and 5-6 at betfair to finish bottom.
- Brazil to win Group E
- (4-11, Paddy Power)
GERMANY as usual go into the finals with aspirations of winning and they're likely to be semi-finalists at least.
Germany will be there or thereabouts and should easily win a group including Mexico, Sweden and South Korea. They are 4-9 at Ladbrokes and 1-2 at Ladbrokes to win their crucial opener against the Mexicans.
Mexico are ranked 15th in the world but lost 4-1 Germany at last year's Confederations Cup and we saw in the recent friendly with Scotland how comfortable they are on the ball but maybe lacking something up top.
It should be between them and Sweden for second spot. With Zlatan Ibrahmovic not around the Swedes don't have any stars but are solid bunch who'll be hard to break down.
South Korea have some exciting players including Spurs striker Son Heung-min, Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung and the best home-based player Lee Jae-Sung.
Son will be the key to how they perform and needs to take his shooting boots to Russia. I'm taking Sweden to edge out Mexico and qualify at 6-4 with BetStars and South Korea to finish bottom at 5-6 with BlackType.
- Germany to win Group F
- (4-9, Ladbrokes)
GROUP G sees two fancied sides Belgium and England paired with rank outsiders Panama and Tunisia.
The top two seeds should qualify comfortably but winning could be crucial. Finish first and you'll likely face Poland or possibly Senegal but second place will have potentially a tougher last-16 clash against Colombia.
England face Belgium in the final group game so all should be clearer then and it could be a cracker if it's a decider and Colombia look like winning Group H.
For now I'm backing England and Belgium to qualify but not picking a Group G winner.
Belgium are 5-6 favourites at William Hill with England, who seem to progressing nicely if not spectacularly under Gareth Southgate, a best 11-8 at betfair. Both to qualify pays just 1-3 at BlackType.
Panama v Tunisia is also likely to settle third-fourth place and I'm on the Central Americans to finish bottom at 4-6 with betfair. They have won just two of their last 15 away World Cup games.
- Belgium/England to qualify
- (1-3, Black Type)
IF Group G is easy to call the final one I'm looking at is the opposite.
Group H is possibly the most competitive of all eight with Colombia favourites to top the section ahead of Poland, Senegal and Japan.
Colombia won all three of their group matches four years ago and beat Japan 4-1, eventually losing to Brazil in the quarters.
They didn't qualify easily this time round but showed their class in beating France 3-2 in Paris in March after trailing 2-0.
Poland are second favourites and in Robert Lewandowski have a striker who can win games on his own. The Poles are 15-8 at Sky Bet to win the table and 4-7 at bet365 to make it through to the last 16.
A double on Colombia and Poland to make it through pays 13-10 at BlackType while a Colombia, Poland straight forecast is 4-1 at Unibet.
Bookies in reality have written off Senegal (11-8, Betfred) and Japan (2-1, William Hill) but in a tight section they could surprise some especially the Africans who will be looking to Liverpool's Sadio Mane to provide some stellar performances.
Mane is 5-2 at Ladbrokes to be Senegal's top scorer and that should land – he probably needs two to achieve it. That compares well to Lewandowski who is just 4-6 for the Poles
Back them to beat an ageing Japan in their second game at 13-10 with Paddy Power.
- Mane top scorer Senegal
- (5-2, Paddy Power)