With the 2018 World Cup just around the corner, ESPN FC commissioned illustrator Paul Lacolley to create team posters for some of the nations who will be competing in Russia.
World Cup winners of the past, sides with ambitions of lifting the trophy for the first time, teams who are fan favourites and those who have a stand-out star player carrying their hopes are all featured across the 16 bespoke posters.
THE FORMER WINNERS’ CIRCLE
Reigning champions Germany are just one triumph behind the record haul of five held by Brazil, who will be hoping talisman Neymar will be fully fit to help them avenge the heartbreak suffered on home soil four years ago.
Lionel Messi may be facing his final chance to cement his legacy with Argentina who, like Uruguay, are aiming for a third title while England, France and Spain want to add to the lone star above their crests.
THE CONTENDERS FOR FIRST-TIME WINS
Portugal come to Russia as European champions and with Cristiano Ronaldo as their captain. Belgium will arrive desperate not to see their golden generation of stars fall short in a final yet again, while Colombia should take confidence from their quarterfinal appearance four years ago.
THE FAN FAVOURITES
After the United States’ failure to qualify, Mexico represent the only CONCACAF power in Russia. Australia will once again show they’re not afraid to take on the world, while any talk of Iceland being the smallest nation ever reach a World Cup finals will be drowned out by the “thunder clap.”
THE STAND-OUT STAR PLAYERS
Egyptian hopes that Mohamed Salah can cap off his extraordinary break-out season by recovering to lead his country in Russia will be reflected by many across the globe. Croatia’s Luka Modric has been the silent engine that has driven Real Madrid to historic heights. Victor Moses will have the chance to shine for Nigeria that he has not been afforded in the Premier League with Chelsea of late.