Denmark captain Simon Kjaer has picked his favourites to win the World Cup, and although Argentina and Portugal are not among them, he believes that the influence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can lead them to glory.
Kjaer plays his club football at Sevilla and is well versed with coming up against the game's best players.
Messi and Ronaldo, however, are special in his view and can elevate the level of whole teams above the ordinary.
Asked by Goal to select his favourites for Russia 2018, he replied: “This time it is difficult to point at just one favourite. I see Spain, France, Germany and Brazil as my favourites. They are all top level teams, but anything can happen when you get to the knockout phase of the tournament.
“I see two outsiders to win the title because of the two extraordinary players we are so fortunate to have in world football right now.
“Messi and Ronaldo are extraterrestrials in my opinion - and well above anyone else in world football.
“I have experienced them close-up this season in La Liga, and both of them could win the title for their country.
“Football is a team sport, but we have these two players, who both have an extra level and an incredible ability of winning football matches with their individual actions out of the blue - and possibly winning a whole tournament.”
Ronaldo has already proved decisive so far in the competition, scoring an incredible hat-trick as the Seleccao started with a 3-3 draw against Spain before his early opener settled their clash with Morocco. Messi, on the other hand, had a false start to the competition after missing a penalty in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Iceland.
Kjaer, meanwhile, is hopeful that Denmark, unbeaten in a record 16 matches, can make a strong impression at the finals after they opened with a 1-0 win over Peru.