Ranking the Top Contenders for 2018 World Cup

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Ranking the Top Contenders for 2018 World Cup
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 World Cup has ended, which puts the attention on Russia in 2018. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance for Sunday's final as the new hosts take over. 

Germany finally captured that elusive fourth World Cup by defeating Argentina 1-0 on Sunday. It had been 24 years since the Germans last stood at the top of the football world before this past tournament. 

As a result, Die Mannschaft are obviously the team to beat going forward. However, several other countries impressed, including this year's finalists. Some teams boasted dynamic young players who performed well above expectations. 

The aforementioned points certainly indicate competitiveness for the 2018 World Cup. In this slideshow, five potential candidates should challenge for the sport's greatest prize. These selections are based on youth development, previous results (including this summer's spectacle), coaching, cohesiveness and intelligence on the pitch. 

Here are the five top contenders for 2018 at this time.

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