Daily Star writers predict World Cup with more heartbreak expected for England

The Daily Star has put its writers to task and asked them to come up with their predictions for the World Cup in Qatar.

Each one of our talented team details their dark horses, top-scorers, tournament winners, and even the players who will be unexpectedly triumphant.

Here we throw a lot of guesswork out there, praying that we don't end up with egg on our face this time next month. You have been warned.

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Jeremy Cross

Best surprise player – Jude Bellingham

Best surprise team – Senegal

Who do you think will win the World Cup – Brazil

Top-scorer – Neymar

How far will England get – Quarter-finals

Chris McKenna

Best surprise player – Aurelien Tchouameni

Best surprise team – Denmark

Who you think will win World Cup – Brazil

Top scorer – Karim Benzema

How far England will get – Quarter-finals

There are no real stand-out calls here but France need a midfielder to step up and I think Aurelien Tchouameni could be that man after getting a big move to Real Madrid in the summer.

Denmark with Christian Eriksen back may cause an upset in the knockout stages, while I reckon Brazil’s attacking flair will get them over the line. Karim Benzema had the season of his life and now is ready to go for his first World Cup golden boot. While England may come up short in the last eight.

Will Schofield

Best surprise player – Lois Openda

Best surprise team – Denmark

Who you think will win World Cup – Argentina

Top-scorer – Lionel Messi

How far England will get – Quarter-finals

It's Lionel Messi's last dance, and with all eyes on him, the Argentine superstar will finally deliver on the world stage – cementing his status as the greatest of all time. Like at Euro 2020, Denmark look to have all the tools to succeed, and don't be surprised if they top the group ahead of France.

Keep an eye out for Belgium's young star Lois Openda, the Lens man has notched seven times in Ligue 1, and he could feature heavily in the group stages thanks to Romelu Lukau's injury woes.

Rhys Daly

Best surprise player – Youssoufa Moukoko

Best surprise team – Canada

Who you think will win World Cup – Brazil

Top-scorer – Harry Kane

How far England will get – Semi-final

Brazil will end their 20-year World Cup wait thanks to their unrivalled attacking depth as well as the experience at the back. I think Canada could spring a few surprises under Englishman John Herdman thanks to Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David.

While I can see Germany's teenage star Youssoufa Moukoko hitting headlines, England's journey might well be a repeat of 2018 despite Harry Kane again filling his boots.

Disagree with our predictions? Make your own in the comments section below

Patrick Austen-Hardy

Best surprise player – Rafael Leao

Best surprise team – Serbia

Who you think will win World Cup – Argentina

Top scorer – Lionel Messi

How far England will get – Quarter-Finals

Similarly to Italy at the Euros, Argentina have amassed a daunting 35-match unbeaten streak and no longer seem to be the top-heavy, Lionel Messi-reliant side they have been in the past. If fit, Serbia have one of the best frontlines in the tournament in Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic, Dusan Tadic, and Sergei Milinkovic-Savic – they will be very tough to contain.

Cristiano Ronaldo's strop means the attention will be on Rafael Leao, who has everything he needs to take the tournament by storm. If he starts well, I can see Lionel Messi taking the World Cup by storm. While, one hopes, England should comfortably qualify from Group B, one or two so called 'big boys' finishing second of their group could present a nightmare route for Gareth Southgate's men.

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Sam Fletcher

Best surprise player – Enzo Fernandez

Best surprise team – Uruguay

Who you think will win World Cup – Argentina

Top scorer – Lionel Messi

How far England will get – Final

Starring for Benfica in the Champions League after a summer move from River Plate, Enzo Fernandez only made his international debut in September but will be key to Argentina handing Lionel Messi a fairytale send-off.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will round off his international career by claiming the golden boot, and a third golden ball, breaking English hearts in the process.

Defeating surprise package Uruguay in the semi-finals, Gareth Southgate leads England to another major final but the Three Lions fall short once again – probably on penalties.

Jacque Talbot

Best surprise player – Jude Bellingham

Best surprise team – Uruguay

Who do think will win World Cup – Argentina

Top-scorer – Kylian Mbappe

How far England will get – Quarter-finals

Jude Bellingham is already a household name, but this is the tournament where he can cement himself as one of the current greats. He will prove himself to be the heartbeat of the side, the one pulling all the strings for the Three Lions. A place in the Team of the Tournament awaits.

Lionel Messi has already said it will be his final World Cup. It's his last chance to bring home the biggest trophy on the international stage – and you just get the sense that he will go and do it.

Dan Burnham

Best surprise player – Andreas Skov Olsen

Best surprise team – Serbia

Who you think will win World Cup – Argentina

Top-scorer – Lionel Messi

How far England will get – Semifinal

Club Brugge winger Andreas Skov Olsen should have a breakout tournament in a Denmark side which could go a fair way in Qatar. With Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic up top, Serbia can easily make it to the knockout stages.

It's part belief, part hope that Lionel Messi can carry his nation to World Cup glory at the fifth time of asking. As for England, they're likely to meet France in the quarter-finals, who aren't the force they were four years ago. But it could be another semi-final heartbreak for the Three Lions.

Joshua Peck

Best surprise player – Harry Maguire

Best surprise team – Spain

Who you think will win World Cup – France

Top-scorer – Karim Benzema

How far England will get – Quarter-finals

Despite the likes of Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku missing out with injury, France will go back-to-back and lift the trophy again.

Spain have been written off by many, but I expect them to come out fighting and surprise many. Another who has been written off is England defender Harry Maguire. But the Manchester United ace saves his best performances for the Three Lions and will be strong in Qatar. But heartbreak looms in the last-eight for Gareth Southgate's men.

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