If you had to select the team you truly thought was going to win the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil – who would you go for? The obvious answer would be the home side and they are the current bookmakers’ favourites at around 3-1. This, however, surely has more to do with home advantage than it does to current form and current squad strength?
If the World Cup was to be played on neutral soil, then it’s probable that Argentina (currently second favourites at around 4-1) would be favourites given the strength of their current squad – most notably with the attacking line-up. Coach Alejandro Sabella is simply spoilt for choice with his captain Lionel Messi, Manchester City‘s Sergio Agüero, Napoli‘s Gonzalo Higuaín, PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio of Inter to choose from.
You can’t really imagine Argentina allowing themselves to be overawed if they line up against Brazil at any point in the competition, particularly in a country where they will enjoy huge travelling support.
The next teams on the bookmakers’ list are European – the logic for this being the fact that not a single European nation has ever won a World Cup in the Americas.
Holders Spain (who have also won two European Championships in a row) will be a huge force to be reckoned with. But they’re available at around 7-1, preceded in the betting by perennial World Cup contenders Germany.
Germany also have a very strong squad currently – thanks in no small part to Bundesliga Champions and Champions League holders Bayern Munich. It’s probable that any German starting 11 will include anywhere between four and six Bayern players. Germany have been drawn in quite a tough group, however, with Portugal, Ghana and the United States – and whilst you’d fully expect them to qualify, any hiccups in the opener against Ronaldo’s Portugal on 16 June could really set the cat amongst the pigeons.
The next team on the bookies’ list are the surprise package, Belgium at around 14-1. Belgium, of course, are widely believed to have their strongest team ever – a team which includes Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembélé, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, and Bayern’s Daniel Van Buyten to name just a few of the all-star line-up.
Next on the list are France at 20-1; always a surprise package where anything seems possible, then there’s the second most successful team (behind Brazil) in the history of the competition; Italy. Italy are very much out of step with the other perennial favourites for the competition who, predictably, fill the first there favourites’ place. The Italian squad is perceived as being relatively weak by that country’s own high historical standards and almost all the players play their club football in Italy. But it’s still a team that includes a few big names like Gilardino, Destro and Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi – the top scorer in Serie A. And history has shown us that the Italians can never be written off in a World Cup.
Their opening game is against England on June 14 in a group that also includes Uruguay and Costa Rica.