We begin our comprehensive coverage of Fifa World Cup 2014 with a look at the latest odds to win the tournament.
The host nation Brazil top the betting boards and they are followed by a whole host of European teams. Let’s take a look at each of the leading contenders and their odds to win the tournament.
Odds to lift the trophy, 3.00
Brazil will get the ball rolling against Croatia on June 12th with the highest possible expectations any host nation can carry. They tuned up for this by winning the 2013 edition of the Confederations Cup, a tournament they have now won on three successive occasions but you have to go back to 2002 for their last time they were crowned World Champions. The man at the helm then was Luiz Felipe Scolari and he has returned to the fold to mastermind the 2014 campaign. Brazil will also meet Mexico and Cameroon in the group stage and should they reach the last 16 as expected, they are likely to face one of the more fancied sides who emerge from Group B.
Odds to lift the trophy, 4.50
Argentina are second favourites and the draw looks to be have been pretty kind to them with Bosnia, Nigeria and genuine footballing minnows Iran providing their opposition in the group stage. With Messi and Aguero in the side they should have plenty of goals in them and they did top the South American qualifying group. Argentina last won the World Cup back in 1986 and they were runners up four years later. After some turbulent years since then, Alex Sabella has steadied the ship in the coaching department and they look set to go deep.
Odds to lift the trophy, 5.00
It’s interesting to see Germany the shortest price of the European contenders, especially as they have been drawn in one of the strongest groups alongside Portugal, Ghana and USA. There are no easy games there and preparations have been hampered by injury concerns over a couple of key players. They breezed through their qualifying group to book their ticket to Brazil early but they were beaten semi finalists in South Africa 2010 and in 2006 as tournament hosts and whether they are any stronger now is debatable.
Odds to lift the trophy, 6.50
The winners of this tournament in 2010 have also been handed a tough draw with the Netherlands, Chile and Australia for company. Spain subsequently added the Euro 2012 crown to the trophy cabinet and they have continuity both on the playing side and in the coaching ranks with Del Bosque still at the helm. There is no doubt it’s been a golden era for Spain and their tournament winning mentality must be admired. The addition of another chapter can’t be dismissed lightly although there is a possibility they could bump Brazil in the last of 16 depending on the finishing positions in Groups A and B.
Odds to lift the trophy, 14.00
Belgium have been the “talking horse” for some time with their odds shortening repeatedly over the last 18 months or so. The squad includes many household names from the English Premier League and they ought to come through the group stage comfortably enough with Russia, Korea Republic and Algeria providing the competition. Although Belgium topped their qualifying group ahead of Croatia there isn’t too much in the way of major tournament pedigree to back up their chances.
Odds to lift the trophy, 21.00
However France perform here it will surely be a significant improvement on their disastrous 2010 campaign when a lack of harmony and discipline amongst the squad saw them head home early. They finished as runners up to Spain in qualifying but came through the play offs after surviving a scare against Ukraine. The French have been drawn with Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland and they could be considered dark horses.
Odds to lift the trophy, 21.00
Columbia were runners up to Argentina in South American qualifying and they have Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan for company in Group C. The big concern is whether Radamel Falcao will be fit to boost their goalscoring potential but defensively they look sound having conceded just 13 goals in 16 qualifiers.
Odds to lift the trophy, 24.00
The Dutch were beaten finalists in 2010 and now bid to go one better under Old Trafford bound Louis van Gaal. They are another side who made short work of booking their place in these finals but they failed to impress in Euro 2012. Although they can call upon the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, they have a tough group to get through with Spain and Chile the two main threats.
Odds to lift the trophy, 24.00
Italy have been drawn alongside the two nations who follow next in our preview with Cost Rica also in attendance. It’s a tough looking quartet which is likely to go down to the wire and as you can see there is little between the Azzuri, Uruguay and England in the outright betting. The bulk of the squad ply their trade with top Serie A clubs and a runners up spot in Euro 2012 was their most encouraging major tournament finish for some time. The Italians came through a reasonably competitive qualifying group unbeaten and are certainly another one to keep an eye on.
Odds to lift the trophy, 25.00
Another South American contender and one of the most football crazy nations on the planet, Uruguay enjoyed an excellent 2010 World Cup where they made the semi finals and they built on that when winning the 2011 edition of Copa America. However, they subsequently made hard work of reaching these finals after finishing fifth in the South American region before crushing Jordan in the play offs. Suarez, Cavani and Forlan are the headline names and they won’t be short of support.
Odds to lift the trophy, 29.00
It’s been some time since England have threatened in a major tournament, often scraping through the group stage and exiting shortly afterwards. This time around they bring along a more youthful squad who can only benefit from the experience assuming they are given their opportunity in the starting line up. The conditions and the strength of the opposition in the group stage are negatives to their chances but Roy Hodgson has made England tough to beat and if they start well they could go deeper than many expect.
After the front runners listed above we find the likes of Portugal (32.00), Chile (45.00), Russia (65.00) and Switzerland (99.00). If you fancy a first ever African winner Ivory Coast (124.00) are considered the most likely ahead of Ghana (149.00), Nigeria (199.00), Cameroon (399.00) and Algeria (999.00).
Note, the odds quoted above are subject to change.
There are question marks over the top European sides who had the rough end of the stick in the draw for the group stage so the South American’s look more attractive to us. Brazil just about deserve the favourites tag but the pressure to deliver on home soil could yet be a factor and we prefer Argentina to give punters a really good run for their money in the outright market.
Argentina to win the tournament @4.50
Watch out for more pre-tournament World Cup betting previews and in the meantime, check out the full suite of World Cup markets on Bet.co.za.