The four-year countdown is over, the World Cup finally kicks off on Thursday and it promises to be yet another scintillating tournament.
Group E contains Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
Sportsmail’s MARTIN KEOWN gives his rundown of each team in Group E, including the manager, the man to watch out for, their strength and their biggest weakness.
FIFA ranking: 2 Odds: 4-1
World Cup best: Five-time winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
THE BOSS: Tite
The 7-1 humiliation by Germany at their home World Cup was a national tragedy but Tite has transformed Brazil into one of the most feared sides once more. He has lost just one of his 21 games in charge.
THE STAR: Neymar
Unquestionably the talisman of this team. He inspired Brazil to Olympic gold in Rio two years ago and has a great chance for more glory. Scored in the warm-up win over Croatia at Anfield, allaying fears that the PSG forward would not recover in time from his foot injury.
THE PROSPECT: Gabriel Jesus
The Man City striker, 21, will be licking his lips at the number of chances this side creates.
When Neymar was injured in the 2014 quarter-finals, it felt like Brazil’s hopes had been extinguished. Now there are quality players everywhere you look in Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Willian.
While they have failed to score just three times under Tite, each match was against a side who packed their defence.
Neymar is unquestionably the talisman of this team and Brazil will hope he is on form in Russia
FIFA ranking: 6 Odds: 100-1
World Cup best: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938, 1954)
THE BOSS: Vladimir Petkovic
The former social worker did not lose a game at Euro 2016, where the Swiss lost on penalties in the last 16 to Poland.
THE STAR: Stephan Lichsteiner
He may be 34 but the full back, who Unai Emery has made his first signing at Arsenal, is a flying machine down the wing.
THE PROSPECT: Breel Embolo
Switzerland are light on strikers but the Schalke forward, 21, can hurt teams with his pace.
A formidable record in qualifying. They won nine of their 10 games, only losing their final match to Portugal.
With Haris Seferovic their top-scoring striker on 11, it is difficult to see where the goals will come from.
Stephan Lichsteiner may be 34 but the full back is a flying machine down the wing
FIFA ranking: 34 Odds: 100-1
World Cup best: Group stage (2006, 2010)
THE BOSS: Mladen Krstajic
A no-nonsense defender in his playing days, he took over in October when Slavoljub Muslin was sacked after securing qualification.
THE STAR: Nemanja Matic
The man who Jose Mourinho calls an ‘island of personality’ is the midfield general for club and country.
THE PROSPECT: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
The Lazio midfielder, 23, is so highly rated that Muslin lost his job after refusing to pick him.
The form of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who hit 12 goals in 20 games for Fulham.
An ageing defence with the likes of Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is so highly rated Slavoljub Muslin lost his job after refusing to pick him
FIFA ranking: 23 Odds: 300-1
World Cup best: Quarter-finals (2014)
THE BOSS: Oscar Ramirez
Took over in 2015 after former Derby striker Paulo Wanchope resigned for brawling with a steward in a game against Panama.
THE STAR: Keylor Navas
Recently won his third Champions League title with Real Madrid… though will be tested a lot more in Russia!
THE PROSPECT: Joel Campbell
More of a one to watch. He shone in 2014 but his season at Real Betis was hit by injury.
Nine of their XI from the 2014 quarter-final are in Russia.
Poor pre-tournament form, losing to England.
Joel Campbell shone in 2014 but his season at Real Betis was derailed by injury
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.