The summer is fast approaching, and in true World Cup fashion, football fans everywhere have begun to browse catalogues of the latest wide-screen TVs, sound out their favourite watering holes, and pray that the old barbecue will survive in the back garden this winter.
But who will prevail in Brazil? Certainly a topic that is hot on the lips of fans worldwide, and such is the wonder of modern football, there is a plethora of strong candidates to the coveted throne.
According to World Cup 2014 betting sites, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany have top billing. Certainly a scintillating quadruple for us to dismantle and discuss before the eagerly anticipated kick-off on June 12th.
Brazil – 10/3
The only nation to have appeared in every World Cup to date, the Seleção are once again a force to be reckoned with. Their new-found resilience coupled with the age-old Brazilian style and flamboyance currently nurtured by Luiz Felipe Scolari make them exceedingly formidable.
Spearheaded by the explosive Neymar, Brazil have an impressive balance of maturity, ability and discipline throughout the side.
Statistically, one in three host nations go on to win the World Cup, and considering the potency of Scolari’s squad, it would be a tough ask to bet against them.
Spain – 11/2
Top in the FIFA World Rankings, and winners of the last three major international tournaments, Spain are certainly one of the teams to beat this summer.
Considering the squad has barely changed since their victory at Euro 2012, Vicente Del Bosque’s record-breakers will surely be at the forefront of some of the competition’s standout moments.
The Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa has made himself available to Del Bosque for selection, and it could be one of the most interesting side-plots this summer.
Germany – 9/2
The Germans have endured a seemingly endless succession of ‘almost but’ moments in recent international competition.
But it may just take one major success to put Germany right on top of the pile, and considering their stunning squad just bristling with raw talent, 2014 could well be the year for Joachim Low’s side.
They have a superb mix of talent throughout, with the creativity of Mesut Ozil and Marco Reus just as crucial as the experience provided by the likes of Phillip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Argentina – 9/2
A cursory glance at the attacking options available to Argentina is enough to make the eyes water. A longer look will effectively give you a tactical headache, such is the task facing Alejandro Sabella of fitting as many of the world beaters at his disposal into his first XI.
Leo Messi is the standout talent, but they also have the likes of Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Rodrigo Palacio, and Ezequiel Lavezzi all clamouring for a place alongside the Barcelona star.
Argentina’s Achilles heel arguably looks to be further back, and if they are to succeed in Brazil, their defence will have to be on top form.
Belgium – 14/1
Holland – 16/1
England – 18/1
Italy – 20/1
What do you think? Who is your favourite for the 2014 World Cup? Let me know in the comments below…