The Samara Arena, a venue for the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches

Brazil Midfielder Paulinho Names His Five World Cup Favorites

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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.

READ MORE: Portuguese Fan Arrives in Russia by Bicycle for FIFA World Cup

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.

On Tuesday, Real Madrid announced that Spain’s coach Julen Lopetegui would become their new head coach following the conclusion of the World Cup. This was followed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sacking Lopetegui earlier today for negotiating behind their backs. Lopetegui was under contract with the RFEF until 2020. Former Real Madrid player Fernando Hierro was named the national team’s coach during the World Cup.

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.

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football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Paulinho, Russia
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