Not surprisingly, odds are on 5-time champions Brazil to take the 2018 Russia World Cup. Why Argentina are 5th on the bookmakers’ odds is mystifying. Probably, it’s Brazil emphatic passage through the qulaifying stages and Messi & Co’s struggle in the same and last hour entry in a dramatic do-or-die win over Ecuador that caused them to wager so.
These two Latin super-powers have always been the favourites before the start of any World Cup, but interestingly, except for Brazil’s 2002 win in Japan, no team from the Americas have won in the last 5 Championships. European teams have walked away with the remaining four, including a maiden win for them on Latin American soil in the form of Germany’s title in 2014. Both Brazil and Argentina have had to exit in the knock-out stages of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup. Of particular humiliation to their legion of fans and admirers world-wide was Argentina’s 0-4 loss in South Africa 2010 and Brazil’s 0-7 in their own backyard in 2014. The tormentor in both these games was Germany, coming 3rd in 2010 and champions in 2014, but yet they are not the top favourites to win and second on the bookmakers list.
France, with players like Kyle Benzema, Kylan Mbappe, Antionne Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema and N’golo Kante have the best combination of talented players in the world. The French were leading the odds to take Russia 2018 for quite some time till Brazil pipped them. Although doubts are being cast on Neymar’s fitness, bookies and fans are expecting the expensive PSG and ex-Barcelona star to deliver the goods for Brazil in Russia. Besides Neymar, it’s names like Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Firmino in the attack, Real Madrid midfield-cum-defenders like Real Madrid stars Casemiro and Marcello and one of the better goal-keepers in the world in the form of Ederson, that’s giving hope to fans and reasons for the bookies to be buoyant. But so are the Argentines equal favourites in the eyes of many with the great Lionel Messi accompanied by the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuan and Dybala populating their ranks. La Albiceleste are the 5th likeliest to lift the as the odds below suggest.
Germany are the favourites next to Brazil. With players like Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, Mario Goetze, Leroy Sane, Julian Draxler, Jerome Bateng, Matts Hummel, Joshua Kimmicha, Anthony Rudiger, Ilkay Gundogan, Timo Werner, the incomparable Manuel dotting their ranks and a dozen more fighting to get their their way into the playing XI, dethroning the 4-time World Champions and 8-time finalists will be a gargantuan task for just ANYONE.
Spain look to find their lost glory after the 2010 World Cup and have just the players at their disposal to achieve that. The little wizard Andres Iniesta, probably playing his last World Cup will be flanked by limitless talent in the likes of David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Isco, Marco Arsenio and Alvaro Morata in the attack and legends like Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Barceloan’s Gerard Pique at the back and to top it, probably the best goal-keeper in the world, David De Gea. The talent populating the benches is staggering, too, making Espania one of the top contenders for the 2018 World Cup and not many would be surprised if they win. Which is why they are the bookmakers 4th favourite, behind Brazil, Germany & France.
Despite being the 6th on the bookmakers favourite list, Belgium have probably the finest young talent in the world to fill up all positions on the field and this could be their best chance to take a shot at the Cup. Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Mousa Dembele, Dries Mertens, Radja Nianggoaln, Christian Benteke, Toby Alderwield, Jan Vertongen, Vincent Komppany, Alex Witsel, Thibaut Courtois and many more. In fact, Kevin De Bruyne could be one vying for the “the player” of the World Cup 2018 title. The 26-year old mid-fielder was clearly the driving force behind Manchester City’s emphatic winning of the English Premier League title this season.
England are not surprisingly behind Belgium and the seventh likelist team to lift the World Cup 2018. Barring pre-match jitters nothing should stop the English from performing better than their odds this time. Never has there been such a congregation of talent since the 1966 WC winning. Harry Kane (probably among the best strikers in the world), Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Daniel Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana, Jesse Lingard, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, John Stones and many many more will vie for a place in the final XI, thus making it a team to watch out for.
For a change, it may not just Cristiano Ronaldo alone who would carry the yoke of Portugal’s fortune in Russia this time.There is raw talent to be found in the likes of Andre Gomes (midfielder – Barcelona), Bernardo Silva (midfielder – Manchester City), Raphael Guerreiro (mid-fielder – Borussia Dortmund), and Andre Silva (striker – AC Milan) considered to be Ronaldo’s heir. Lest one forget, Portugal are European champions and will be the dark horse in Russia. The Iberians are 8th on the bookmakers list of contenders.
Recommended value tip: Argentina to win best odds, 10/1 BetVictor