The 2018 World Cup in Russia kicks off in less than two months’ time with Germany looking to defend their trophy in Europe.
Joachim Low’s side won the tournament four years ago in Brazil by beating Argentina in 1-0 in extra-time after humiliating the hosts 7-1 in the semi-final.
They were the only nation to win 100% of their qualifying matches to reach Russia and many feel they can go all the way again.
Below is a look at who the bookmakers believe are the favourites for this year’s tournament based on their World Cup 2018 odds:
1. Brazil (5.6 with Betfair)
Brazil are the narrow favourites in Eastern Europe this summer with Tite’s team currently having odds shorter than 5/1.
The record winners of the World Cup have a much stronger team this time than they did four years ago, and won’t solely be relying on Neymar this time around.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is still the main man but Neymar will be supported by a talented team of players that also include Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Gabriel Jesus and Douglas Costa in attack.
Brazil’s defensive weaknesses were exploited by Germany four years ago but they look stronger at the back this time. They have a top goalkeeper in Alisson with Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Marcelo in front of him.
2. Germany (5.8 with Betfair)
Only fractionally longer odds are the reigning champions, Germany. With a mixture of experienced players, winners and youngsters, Joachim Low’s potential squad has a lot of excitement.
Star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer may miss the tournament due to a season-long injury, but that just means Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen will come in instead. In front of him can be the Bayern Munich trio of Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.
Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira are still available in central midfield and although Bastian Schweinsteiger no longer plays international football, Germany have the likes of Leon Goretzka, Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan too.
RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner could lead the line whilst the experienced Thomas Muller has been a frequent goalscorer in his two previous World Cups.
3. Spain (7.6 with Betfair)
Spain have seen their odds come down over the past few weeks, mostly because of their 6-1 annihilation of Argentina in a friendly in March.
Julen Lopetegui’s side have a squad full of talent. This starts between the posts with arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now, David de Gea. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique aren’t getting any younger but both are perennial winners.
The 2010 winners are stacked with talent in midfield. From Sergio Busquets playing the holding role, to the likes of Andres Iniesta, Koke, Thiago Alcantara and David Silva who can create from the middle, and then Pedro, Marco Asensio and Isco out wide.
Spain’s weakness could be up front where they’ve not had a great goalscorer in international tournaments in recent times. Alvaro Morata could be the answer but he’s not been consistent at club level this season. Diego Costa’s the only other real alternative unless they want to go with David Villa.
For a more in-depth look at the 2018 World Cup favourites and more, check out this graphic from Betfair below: