May 19, 1053 days ago

World Cup 2014 – Three To Back

World Cup 2014 – Three To Back

Brazil – 3/1 favourites

Throwing your weight behind the five times champions and perennial ante-post favourites is hardly placing your reputation on the line.  However, the South Americans have lost more World Cups than they have won and can boast only two World titles since 1974.  Backing them in recent tournaments has not been as profitable as you might imagine.

This time, however, Brazil look well equipped to reclaim the trophy they last won in 2002. As well as the huge benefit of home advantage, their squad is also packed full of everything they need to succeed.

They have goals in the team in Barcelona’s Neymar and Zenit St Petersburg’s Hulk.  They have great craft in the Chelsea pair of Oscar and Willian and great experience in Ramires and Hernanes. They also boast great defensive nous in Thiago Silva, Dani Alves and Maicon.

Filipe Scolari has developed a balanced and talented side and their recent performances have been excellent, particularly the ease with which they beat Spain on the way to the 2013 Confederations Cup. They have an easy looking group stage and, as long as they negotiate a tricky last 16 match against Spain or the Netherlands, the hosts should go very well.

Germany – 11/2

Whether it was their hosting of the tournament in 2006 or their stylish team full of young attacking talent, cheering on the Germans seems to be much easier than it was a decade ago.  Rather than producing cynical, efficient sides, Joachim Low has built a team with no shortage of flair.

It’s been 18 years since a German team won a major international tournament and there’s a feeling in the country that a triumph is long overdue. They certainly have the strongest looking squad in the competition with an embarrassment of riches in attack including Mario Gotze, Andre Schurrle, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus.

Germany are also in the kinder half of the draw and their most difficult match on the way to the final is likely to be against Argentina.

The concern might be the lack of a world class centre forward – 35 year old Miroslav Klose is still the first choice – but their vast experience and talent should see them go well. Anything less than a win would represent a disappointment for a nation that feels tournament success is well overdue.

Spain – 7/1

For years, backing Spain at a World Cup finals was a recipe for disaster. Every tournament, Spain would turn up with a squad packed with brilliant players only for them to suffer embarrassing defeats to the likes of Northern Ireland, Nigeria or South Korea.

All this changed in 2010, of course, and Spain are on an unprecedented winning run which has seen them take not only the World Cup but two European Championship titles as well.

A 3-0 defeat to Brazil in last summer’s Confederations Cup means that Spain are as long as 7/1 in the betting. However, having proved a European team can win a World Cup away from the continent and with a squad that is stronger than that which won in 2010, I believe they are being unwisely written off.

Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Xavi, David Silva, Gerard Pique and Iker Casillas would still waltz into almost any team in the world and this time Vicente del Bosque can also call on the likes of Atletico Madrid pair Diego Costa and Koke, Real Madrid’s Isco and Bayern’s Thiago Alcantara.

With superb recent pedigree, a game that should suit the conditions and tons of talent I think Spain should once again go well at 7/1. That’s if they don’t revert to their old ways, of course.

World Cup Betting

 

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