Liverpool legend-turned-pundit Michael Owen believes Brazil are the front-runners for the summer World Cup with a better-balanced squad than some of their competitors. The Selecao suffered a shocking 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany during the previous edition of the World Cup but Owen expects them to come stronger this time around with a great array of attacking talents at their disposal.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, he said: “They’ve two brilliant goalkeepers, they’ve got defenders, and they have that array of attacking talent with Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho. France obviously have a lot of good players but I’m a bit sceptical about them in tournaments. Spain and Germany I also like, but Brazil would be my idea of the strongest team.”
Meanwhile, Owen did not have much of a hope on the Three Lions but expects them to at least reach the quarter-final stage of the World Cup, considering the relatively easier draw until then, he added: “We’ve been blessed with the draw and, if we don’t get into the quarter-finals, I think there will be big questions asked.”
The Three Lions have managed to undergo a huge transition from the previous tournament in Brazil where they suffered a shock group-stage exit. Nevertheless, there have been question marks regarding the experience of the players at the big stage with Gareth Southgate deciding to pick a team with an average age of less than 26.
Besides the countries mentioned by Owen, Belgium could be one of the dark horses for the tournament after making the quarter-finals during the previous edition. The Red Devils currently possess a golden generation of players, which include the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, and they may pose a threat to some of the tournament favourites during the latter stages of the World Cup.