Predicted order of finish: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama.
Outlook: If everything is working properly, third-ranked Belgium could win the whole darn thing. The roster rocks: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany (should he recover in time from a groin injury) and Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Napoli’s Dries Mertens.
England has always carried an oversize mystique. Aside from runs to the semifinals of the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championship, England has failed to reach the quarterfinals in eight of the past 12 major competitions.
Is something special brewing this summer? Eh. Harry Kane posted 30 goals for Tottenham Hotspur this season — second in the Premier League to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah — and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is a menacing forward.
Tunisia returns to the World Cup after missing two tournaments, but with top scorer Youssef Msakni sidelined with a knee injury, the outlook is grim. Midfielder Wahbi Khazri is the ringleader.
By beating out the United States, Panama joined Iceland as the tournament’s only first-time participants. The roster features six MLS players, including Seattle defender Roman Torres, and seven who previously played in the U.S.-Canadian league.
Eden Hazard is among a talent-laden roster for Belgium.