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THE FINISH LINE

Eyes on the prize

The front-runners for the World Cup include usual suspects such as Germany and Brazil, but who will lift the trophy on July 15?

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Brazil's forward Gabriel Jesus (centre) heading the ball past Germany's goalkeeper Kevin Trapp (left) during an international friendly match between Germany and Brazil in Berlin on March 27. The two teams are among the hot favourites to win the World Cup this time.

WHEN the gruelling qualification process for this year's Fifa World Cup began in March 2015, a total of 209 nations began their long quest to be among the lucky 31 to join hosts Russia at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.

After 868 qualifying matches played over 32 months, football...

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