SOCHI (Sputnik) – Brazil midfielder Paulinho named Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Argentina as 2018 FIFA World Cup favorites on Wednesday.
“Germany, France, Belgium, Spain are among the World Cup favorites. I will name these teams. Also, I’ll select Argentina, who also are among the favorites,” Paulinho told journalists.
Brazil will play their first game of the tournament against Switzerland at the 45,000-seater Rostov Arena on Sunday.
“Switzerland are a strong team. I have an idea of how they play. First of all, I want to highlight their strong defense. We know it will be a tough game for us… We will play with passion,” the 29-year-old player added.
The five-time World Cup winners will also face Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E at this summer’s tournament.
Paulinho went on saying that he was “saddened” by the latest developments in the Spanish national team.
“Spain is one of the favorites for the tournament with a proper selection of players. I am not very keen to discuss the coach. But I am saddened that such things can happen,” Paulinho told journalists.
Spain is set to play against Portugal on Friday, and will also meet Iran and Morocco in Group B. Brazil will play against Switzerland on Sunday, and will also face Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.
The World Cup will be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15.