Aunlike any other is upon us with Sunday's opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador the beginning of the final chapter in a 12 year tale of corruption, human rights and geopolitics that has led world football to its first ever winter world championships. Indeed, the only thing that might bear much similarity to previous tournaments could be the football where there is a familiar look to the runners and riders who will be vying to lift the trophy.
As ever, Brazil and Argentina rank among the leading contenders with a coterie of European sides in the mix as well. Could there be a dark horse from the ranks of South America, Asia or Africa? Which big names will crumble under the pressure? Can the USMNT escape the group stages at the very least? Our team of experts have dived deep into the possibilities, permutations and predictions to pick their winners, both of the trophy itself and the individual prizes. Scroll down to see them in full.
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Group stage picks
Knockout stage picks
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|James Benge||Chuck Booth||Roger Gonzalez||Mike Goodman||Sandra Herrera||Jonathan Johnson||Igor Mello||Francesco Porzio|
|Golden ball (Best player)|
|Golden boot (Top scorer)|
|Golden glove (Top keeper)|
|Best young player|