The biggest sporting event on the planet—soccer’s World Cup—gets underway in Brazil this June and if the odds to win the tournament are any indication it could be an exciting time for the host country. Brazil is a 3/1 favorite to win the 2014 World Cup despite being currently tied for #6 in the FIFA World Rankings.
Brazil definitely has more going for it than just home field advantage—they’ve won the World Cup five times, the most of any country and one more than Italy. Led by superstar striker Neymar, the Brazilians have plenty of offensive fireworks but the team is not without their concerns. In particular, their ability to play sound tactical defense and a lack of depth in the midfield could be issues that keep Brazil from winning their sixth World Cup championship this summer.
Argentina is the second favorite for 2014 World Cup betting with futures odds at 9/2. They’ve won the World Cup twice (1978 and 1986) and have arguably the best player in the world, Lionel Messi. They underachieved somewhat at the 2010 World Cup under the stewardship of the enigmatic Diego Maradona and should be better organized and prepared with the more taciturn Alejandro Sabella. In terms of talent, Argentina can compete with any team in the world and if the higher degree of stability and order under Sabella is what they need they could be in the mix to win the 2014 World Cup.
Germany is next on the list at 5/1. They have won the World Cup on three different occasions, most recently in 1990. The Germans are currently ranked as the #2 team in the FIFA World Rankings. Led by Bayern Munich standout Thomas Muller, Germany has as much talent—and as much depth—as any team in the field. Historically, European teams haven’t fared particularly well in South America but that notwithstanding this is a team fully capable of winning the World Cup.
Defending World Cup champions Spain are the only other team priced at single digit odds, coming in at 7/1. Spain is currently ranked as the #1 team in the FIFA World Rankings but there is some concern that their roster is getting somewhat ‘long in the tooth’. Spain was soundly defeated 3-0 by Brazil in a Confederations Cup meeting earlier this season and it remains to be seen whether that was a sign that time has caught up with this team or if it was simply a lack of focus.
The 2014 World Cup will get underway on Thursday, June 12 as Brazil faces Croatia in the only contest of the day. A full schedule of action begins on Friday with three games and continues on Saturday with four matches on the docket.