Lionel Messi has suggested that reigning champions France and record winners Brazil are the teams with the best chance of World Cup glory in Qatar at the end of this year.

But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who will be playing at his fifth World Cup with Argentina, hasn’t ruled out the likes of Germany, England or Spain either.

“There are big teams like Brazil, Germany, France, England, Spain, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some,” Messi told DirecTV. “But if I have to keep one or two, today I think Brazil and France are the two big candidates for this World Cup.”

The 35-year-old added that continuity works in the favour of the Selecao and Les Bleus.

“They’ve had the same group [of players] for a long time, working well,” he said.

“France, aside from the last Euros when they were eliminated [in the last 16] and did badly, they have some impressive players. They have a clear idea and the same coach [Didier Deschamps]. Brazil is similar [under Tite].”

Messi presumably deliberately omitted an Argentina side unbeaten in 35 games and coming into the World Cup off the back of Copa America glory last year, ending a 28-year silverware drought.

The official FIFA rankings currently consider Brazil to be the best team in the world, with Belgium second, Argentina third and France fourth. England are one place lower in fifth, but are in a run of dreadful form after failing to win any of their last six matches, while Spain are sixth.

Germany are one of Messi’s teams to keep an eye on but are ranked as low as 11th in the world by FIFA and unusually exited Euro 2020 in the first knockout round after also failing to even get out of the group stage at the last World Cup in 2018.


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