The 2018 World Cup might be missing some big nations, but that's what makes this tournament the best in sports. Brazil are looking to bounce back from a travesty in 2014, while Spain, Argentina and France are hoping to dethrone defending champions Germany and their typically deep squad. Can Belgium or Portugal make a splash? Do England have what it takes to challenge too?
ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14 in English, Spanish and Portuguese to give a truly global feel to our team profiles. Here's what you need to know about the 32 teams set to do battle in Russia beginning on June 14.
GROUP A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
- Russia: Do weak hosts have easiest group ever?
- Saudi Arabia: New coach faces tall task to gel average squad
- Egypt: Pharaohs' fortunes come down to one player... Salah
- Uruguay: Suarez and Cavani's goals enough to reach the semifinals
GROUP B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
- Portugal: Can Ronaldo lead Euro 2016 champs to global glory?
- Spain: Andres Iniesta, Spain poised to reclaim World Cup from Germany
- Morocco: Escaping the group will require some serious upsets
- Iran: "Team Melli" are fighting for pride in 2018
GROUP C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
- France: Semifinals a realistic aim if Pogba, Griezmann & Co. unite
- Australia: Socceroos facing uphill battle under new manager
- Peru: Hope rests with defence, Guerrero and Farfan
- Denmark: Eriksen the key if Danes are to escape the group
GROUP D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
- Argentina: Messi has to bring home the trophy
- Iceland: Don't expect underdogs to escape the group
- Croatia: Modric, Rakitic the key to a last-16 appearance
- Nigeria: Goalkeeping issues will ruin a talented squad
GROUP E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
- Brazil: Selecao, Neymar hungry to avenge 7-1 humiliation in 2014
- Switzerland: Don't expect Shaqiri & Co. to stick around
- Costa Rica: Ticos hoping for repeat run to quarterfinals
- Serbia: Raw squad led by Mitrovic, Milinkovic-Savic hoping to shock
GROUP F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
- Germany: Champs boast depth but Manuel Neuer's fitness a concern
- Mexico: Is this the year they finally crack the round of 16?
- Sweden: They're united without Zlatan Ibrahimovic but struggling for form
- South Korea: Son Heung-Min not enough in tournament's hardest group
GROUP G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
- Belgium: "Golden generation" led by De Bruyne must deliver
- Panama: First World Cup should provide platform to build for future
- Tunisia: Injuries will derail underdogs before they get started
- England: Can Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling carry the Three Lions?
GROUP H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
- Poland: Underestimate Lewandowski & Co. at your peril
- Senegal: It will take more than Sadio Mane to make an impact
- Colombia: James Rodriguez & Co. will accept nothing less than Round of 16
- Japan: Sudden coaching change spells doom
WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
- All World Cup 2018 squads
- World Cup news
- World Cup fixtures
- Vickery: Few surprises in Brazil's 23-man squad
- Udoh: Nigeria squad is as expected
- Dove: Injuries leave Tunisia woefully short
- Marshall: Guardado surgery gives Mexico, Osorio a headache
- Ogden: Who will make the England squad?