sport news World Cup 2018: Is Belgium's squad more talented that Brazil's?

After failing to live up to expectations in recent major tournaments, Belgium will be eager to prove their doubters wrong at the World Cup this summer.

Roberto Martinez's Belgium squad is packed with world class stars, including the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

Belgium, who come up against England in their final World Cup group game on June 28, head into the tournament as one of the favourites and they will be buoyed by the early results of Brazil, Germany and Spain.

Here, Sportsmail assesses how Belgium's star-studded squad compares to that of their rivals... 

Belgium head into the World Cup as one of the favourites due to a host of world class names

Belgium head into the World Cup as one of the favourites due to a host of world class names

Roberto Martinez will be hoping his Belgium players live up to expectations in Russia

Roberto Martinez will be hoping his Belgium players live up to expectations in Russia

BELGIUM

GOALKEEPERS

The Red Devils have a strong goalkeeping unit and there will be a commanding presence between the posts this summer.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois - who has established himself as one of the best in the world - will start in goal in Russia, with fellow Premier League player Simon Mignolet set to be No 2.

Courtois is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League while Mignolet has plenty of experience playing on the big stage.

Wolfsburg's Koen Casteels lacks the experience at the World Cup, having missed out through injury in 2014, but Roberto Martinez is very unlikely to have to call on him.

RATING: 7/10

DEFENCE

In the heart of defence, Belgium really are not short of options. Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen provide the team with a watertight structure at the back.

Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier will provide the width down the right and is never afraid to get forward when the opportunity arises.

Belgium may struggle down the left though, with Atletico Madrid's Yannick Carrasco recently being deployed in an unusual position of wing-back in the country's pre-World Cup friendlies.

And Kompany's injury woes — which mean he will not feature until the final group game — could be an issue. 

RATING: 8/10

Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Co will provide Belgium with solidity at the back

Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Co will provide Belgium with solidity at the back

Alderweireld and his defensive Belgium team-mates have plenty of experience at the top level

Alderweireld and his defensive Belgium team-mates have plenty of experience at the top level

MIDFIELD 

Belgium's midfield is where the magic really comes from. With Kevin De Bruyne and Alex Witsel in the heart of midfield, they will certainly not lack the drive or creativity to unlock defences.

And with deadly Chelsea star Eden Hazard on the wing, Belgium will have a constant threat from the middle of the park.

While not everything has fluently ticked in recent major tournaments, you would expect them to come out of the blocks in emphatic .

With the likes of Mousa Dembele and Marouane Fellaini to chose from, Martinez also has the option of power, strength and aerial prowess when his side come up against a more robust country.

RATING: 9/10

ATTACK

With De Bruyne, Hazard and Co feeding the balls through to striker Romelu Lukaku, there should be goals galore for Belgium.

Lukaku, who became Belgium's all-time top goalscorer at the tender age of 24, will cause defences a host of problems with his aerial and finishing ability.

Furthermore, Martinez can also call on Napoli's Dries Mertens and Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi. They are definitely not short of firepower up top.

RATING: 7/10 

OVERALL RATING: 31/40

With the likes of Eden Hazard going forward, Belgium should create a host of chances

With the likes of Eden Hazard going forward, Belgium should create a host of chances

Romelu Lukaku will be given plenty of opportunities to score for the Red Devils

Romelu Lukaku will be given plenty of opportunities to score for the Red Devils

GERMANY

GOALKEEPERS

Manuel Neuer's return to fitness just in time for the eagerly-anticipated tournament would have come as a huge boost to the reigning World Cup champions.

Concerns will linger over his fitness as the Bayern Munich goalkeeper only recently just returned to action after having not played since September with a fractured metatarsal in his left foot.

However, despite his lack of game time, he was in decent form as Germany shockingly lost to Mexico on Sunday.

Germany have potentially the strongest goalkeeping depth at the World Cup, with Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Paris Saint-Germain's Kevin Trapp behind Neuer in the pecking order.

RATING: 9/10  

DEFENCE

On paper, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng should have provided know-how to keep them tight down the middle. That was not the case against Mexico on Sunday, as they struggled defensively.

Other than Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger and the two names mentioned above however, Germany lack any real sort of experience at the back.

Joshua Kimmich, who started at right-back, enjoyed a fine season for Bayern Munich as they won the Bundesliga for a sixth season running. But he was regularly caught out of position against Mexico.

Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Marvin Plattenhardt and Niklas Sule make up the rest of Germany's defence.

RATING: 6/10

The return to fitness of skipper Manuel Neuer has given Germany a massive boost

The return to fitness of skipper Manuel Neuer has given Germany a massive boost

MIDFIELD

The fact that Joachim Low left out Manchester City star Leroy Sane from his 23-man squad should have been a massive testament to Germany's incredible strength in depth.

The Germans, who beat Argentina in the 2014 final in Brazil, have world class players all over the shop in midfield, including Mesut Ozil, Ilkay Gundogan, Toni Kroos and Julian Draxler.

But their struggles, especially on the part of Draxler, against Mexico means the absence of Sane has been questioned.

Germany have a mix of real efficiency, pace and technical ability across the midfield and their players will no doubt create a host of chances for their team-mates.

And they could impress if Germany turn their form around following their shock opening loss.

RATING: 7.5/10

ATTACK 

A forward quartet of Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Marco Reus and Mario Gomez gives Joachim Low options.

Werner, who has become a target for Liverpool, led the line against Mexico following a fine season for RB Leipzig, where he scored 13 goals in Bundesliga.

Muller scored five goals at the last World Cup and has the ability to run defences ragged with his exceptional positioning and poaching. Meanwhile, Reus and Gomez also have quality in abundance.

They did not impress in the opener though and will need to improve as the tournament rolls on. 

RATING: 8/10

OVERALL RATING: 30.5/40

Timo Werner led the line for Germany against Mexico but struggled like his team-mates

Timo Werner led the line for Germany against Mexico but struggled like his team-mates

FRANCE

GOALKEEPERS

The goalkeeping department is the one area where France lack any real strength in depth. Hugo Lloris is the nailed on No 1 and lacks any real competition from the other two keepers.

Steve Mandanda of Marseille and Alphonse Areola of Paris Saint-Germain are France's No 2 and 3 respectively in Russia this summer.

Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris can produce some spectacular saves in between the sticks, with his main attribute being his pace coming off his line. 

RATING: 7/10

DEFENCE

With an Achilles injury ruling Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny out of the tournament, Samuel Umtiti will partner Raphael Varane in the heart of defence for France.  

The pair's key attributes are their pace and strength and Didier Deschamps will be very confident they can keep attacks at bay. There will have been disappointment at Umtiti giving away a penalty in the he did against Australia.

France will also have a very strong balance at the back. With Umtiti and Varane keeping things tight, Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy can provide a blistering attacking threat down the flanks.

Furthermore, with youngsters like Benjamin Pavard and Presnel Kimpembe in reserve, France's defence is full of energy and enthusiasm.

RATING: 7.5/10

Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti provide France with power and pace in the heart of defence

Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti provide France with power and pace in the heart of defence

MIDFIELD

France have the opportunity to run their World Cup opponents into the ground in midfield this summer. 

With Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Corentin Tolisso lining up alongside each other as a three, France have everything: pace, power, strength, technical and aerial ability, as well as solidity.

Deschamps also has Blaise Matuidi and the ever-reliable Steven N'Zonzi at his disposal from the bench.

However, much of the country's success depends on Pogba, who has recently struggled for form at . He did impress on Saturday, having a role to play in both goals as France beat

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