The 2018 World Cup is around the corner, and 32 nations will vie for the grandest prize
in the sport in Russia. The December draw gave us a good idea of what to expect this summer, but now that the rosters have been whittled down and the games are on the horizon, it's time to look at each competing country under the microscope.
Click on each nation for its corresponding preview and go on down the line to help prepare yourself for the World Cup spectacle that awaits:
: The Pharaohs sweat Mohamed Salah's injury while eyeing a knockout berth in a manageable group.
: Can the hosts avoid crashing out before the knockout stage?
: The lowest-ranked team in the field with throw everything forward to spring a surprise.
: Prolific strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani lead an overwhelming group favorite.
: Carlos Queiroz's side coasted through qualifying but faces tall task in Russia.
: Can Herve Renard's charges ride stingy a defense to dark horse status?
: Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. set out to prove their Euro 2016 title was no fluke.
: After early exits in their past two tournaments, La Furia Roja have makeup of a winner.
: Socceroos have their work cut out after eking into the field and hiring a new manager.
: Balanced Danes have a world-beating star in playmaker Christian Eriksen.
: Les Bleus have the talent and depth; can they win it all?
: Cleared Paolo Guerrero can provide the spark for La Blanquirroja to pull off a surprise.
It's tough to peg La Albiceleste's fate despite Lionel Messi, Jorge Sampaoli's star-studded team.
: Is its world-class midfield talent enough to carry the squad to the knockout stage?
: Brutal group will challenge everyone's favorite underdog in its quest to repeat Euro 2016 success.
: Rising talent will make Super Eagles a tough out in a challenging foursome.
: With Neymar fit, more balanced Seleção go in search of title No. 6.
: After shocking quarterfinal run in 2014, Los Ticos eye another stunner in yet another difficult group.
: With an experienced core of top-league stars and off the heels of a 2015 U-20 World Cup title, can Serbia be a surprise package?
: The Swiss missed out on automatic qualification for the World Cup only due to goal differential, and it impressed in reaching Russia. But will a tough group mean an early exit?
: Defending champions have the look of a winner again.
: Before facing round-of-16 curse, El Tri must tackle tough competition in opening phase.
: Inconsistent side has a star in Tottenham's Son Heung-min, but expectations are tempered.
: Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, more balanced Swedish approach brings success.
: For the golden generation, it's now or never to leave a mark and break through.
: Younger Three Lions set out to change the narrative on the major tournament stage.
: World Cup first-timer boasts a physical, veteran side but faces a tough task.
: African side can be dangerous and has risen to 14th in FIFA's rankings but is likely overmatcheed in its group.
: Ceiling appears to be quarterfinals again for James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, young defense.
: Veteran generation gives it one last go on the World Cup stage.
: Prolific Robert Lewandowski may be the difference in a rather balanced, unpredictable group.
: Now coach, Allou Cisse has star-laden Lions of Teranga dreaming of another deep, quarterfinal run.