Jun 9, 1032 days ago

2014 World Cup preview – Top Regional Team

2014 World Cup preview – Top Regional Team

Europe

With 13 representatives in Brazil, can a UEFA team become the first to win a World Cup on South American soil? Eight of the top twelve teams in the betting are from Europe, but who will be the continent’s most successful team this summer?

Germany are the 23/10 favourites to the Europe’s top team in Brazil. It’s been 18 years since they last won an international tournament and Joachim Low’s team look to be in the easier half of the draw. I also think Spain will do a solid job of defending their title and the reigning champions are 3/1 to once again be Europe’s best team.

Author Simon Kupar made a very convincing argument on the Paddy Power blog recently for backing Italy and France to go far in the tournament and with an easy looking route to the quarter final France look good value in this market at 7/1.

South America

I’ve been saying for months that Brazil are the team to beat this summer. Functional more than exciting, the hosts have a settled side with no shortage of talent or international experience and benefit from a passionate home support. The 6/5 on them to be South America’s best team this summer looks good value.

The only CONMEBOL team I can genuinely see outperforming them is Argentina. With a formation that finally suits Messi, Huguain, di Maria et al there should be plenty of attacking flair but I’d be concerned about their defence. I’m not sure the 17/10 on Argentina in this market represents value.

Africa

Ivory Coast are the 6/4 favourites to end up as Africa’s best team in Brazil and they have a great chance of qualifying from a group containing Colombia, Japan and Greece. They are likely to face Italy, England or Uruguay in the first knockout round, however, and so the last 16 looks as good as they can hope for.

2010 quarter finalists Ghana are 11/4 to progress the furthest of the African teams but I would be surprised if the Black Stars qualify from Group G. I actually prefer the chances of Nigeria at 11/4. The current African champions arrive in Brazil with a mixture of home and foreign based players under popular coach Stephen Keshi and could well eliminate Iran and Bosnia-Herzogovina on the way to the last 16.

Asia

Despite the popularity of the beautiful game on the Asian continent it would actually be something of a surprise were any of the four AFC teams to qualify for the knockout stages in Brazil.

Japan often flatter to deceive at the World Cup although they have the best chance of reaching the last 16 this time. Group C is wide open and with the likes of Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda in the line-up there’s enough attacking talent to see of Greece and the Ivory Coast. Japan are10/11 to be Asia’s best side. South Korea are likely to be great to watch and if they don’t ship a hatful of goals could also offer value in this market at 17/10.

CONCACAF

This is a tough market to call considering Mexico have failed to get past the first knockout round in eleven World Cup attempts away from home soil while the USA squad in 2014 is the weakest in some years. I actually don’t fancy either side to make the last 16 but while the USA could easily lose their three group matches Mexico should get some points on the board.

Back Mexico to be the top CONCACAF team at 10/11.

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