FIFA World Cup 2018: An analysis of our early favourites

FIFA World Cup 2018 An analysis of our early favourites
Photo: Jeffersonassilva, Pixabay

The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and naturally Australians are joining the international community in the growing excitement. International soccer has a way of engaging all sports fans, and if advance ticket sales are any indication, this year’s tournament should generate as much attention as ever.

One way for Australians to enjoy the tournament without travelling to watch the matches live is to to speculate on outcomes. While we wouldn’t advise for or against it (that’s for each individual to decide for themself), sports betting is legal in Australia so long as you’re over 18 and using a licensed platform.

As you may know, the World Cup is full of interesting opportunities in regards to betting. Fans will bet on which teams will win which groups, which players will score the most goals, and even real-time scenarios within matches. Most notably though, people will wager on the favorites for the entire World Cup.

Performance in World Cup soccer is a point of pride for many nations, especially those in Europe which have a fiercely competitive history of national rivalries. While many players are returning from previous World Cup’s there is always some new blood who can make or break the cohesion of these world class teams.

There are a variety of different factors that people can take into consideration when placing their bets, but there is always an element of chance. Teams that have historically done well in tournaments are usually safe bets with less potential reward attached, those wishing to win big will need to take some calculated risks.

For those interested in this kind of activity, or even just for soccer fans starting to turn their attention toward Russia 2018, here’s a brief analysis of some of the betting favorites.

Germany

To be honest, the Germans and Brazilians are the co-favorites for the 2018 World Cup, with either of them in front depending on your perspective. But we’ll start with Germany because it’s the defending champion and number one team in the world.

Mixing a squad of veteran national team players with striker Timo Werner, Germany should be able to present its typical beautiful attack. There is some question about the back of the defense however, with elite keeper Manuel Neuer injured and in question. As of now he’s on track to play, but he’s certainly someone to keep an eye on.

Brazil

Some fans may have soured on Brazil after its poor showing while hosting the Cup in 2014. But it’s worth keeping in mind that the 2014 squad was very young, and particularly in Brazil’s case hosting comes with enormous pressure.

In a way, playing in Russia might be easier – and the Brazilians ought to be about as talented as ever. Neymar is in the process of getting back to full health but is one of the true stars in the world, and with Gabriel Jesus now poised to help with the attack and
Fernandinho orchestrating in the midfield, this team can go toe-to-toe with anyone.

France

France is getting a lot of buzz, even if it’s a tiny tier below Germany and Brazil in most of the official odds listings. This French team is young, dynamic, and extraordinarily talented, and will be looking to return the nation to international glory.

The bulk of the pressure may fall on manager Didier Deschamps, who has the difficult task of forming a cohesive unit out of a talented roster. Les Bleus will be fascinating to watch and trendy to bet on, though we could see things going either way for the team.

Spain

2014 saw Spain come back down to Earth from what had been more or less a decade of dominance. But don’t be fooled into thinking the Spaniards are done among the best national teams in the world.

Familiar name Andres Iniesta remains the engine of the team and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa should lead the attack. For what it’s worth, Spain may have looked better than any of these teams in a slew of friendlies following World Cup qualifying.

Beyond these four favorites, Argentina and Belgium are getting some consideration (despite the fact that Argentina had trouble in qualifying). The next tier essentially consists of England, Portugal, and Uruguay. But for the most part it’s those four teams above and Argentina and Belgium that are among the favorites from a betting perspective.

Then again, you never know what will happen once the matches start.