Mon, Nov 20, 2:29pm by Head Editor
Qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia came to an end last week, when Peru and Australia claimed the final two places for 2018’s showpiece event, so let’s take a look at the betting market.
At the top of the market, there’s a couple of familiar nations fighting it out for favouritism, with reigning Champion Germany and five-times winners Brazil, both at $5.50.
Germany’s seemingly endless pool of talent has seen them cruise through their qualifying campaign with 10 wins from as many matches. Joachim Low’s charges scored 43 goals in those games, and conceded just four.
You’d have to be a brave man to bet against the Germans becoming the first country to win back-to-back World Cups since Pele’s Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
Speaking of Brazil, they were also extremely impressive in their qualifying campaign, winning 10 of their last 12 games, to finish 10 points clear on top of the table.
Those results came under their manager Tite, who replaced Dunga halfway through a qualifying campaign that was a tale of two halves.
France are third favourite, at $6.50 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy for the first time since they hosted the tournament, in 1998.
Les Bleus finished on top of Group A, losing just one of their 10 games, and with names like Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante all at their disposal, they will be hard to beat in Russia.
Other countries in single figures are Spain ($7) and Argentina at $8, who had to rely on a heroic hat trick for Lionel Messi against Ecuador in their final game just to reach the finals.
Belgium are at $12 while England are assessed as a $19 chance to lift the famous trophy for the second time, and the first since they hosted the tournament in 1966.
Gareth Southgate’s squad will be led in attack by Tottenham pair Harry Kane and Dele Alli, who – like the rest of The Three Lions squad – cruised to next June’s tournament.
The team who knocked England out of last year’s European Championships – Iceland – are out at $101, but the smallest nation to ever qualify for a World Cup, when they topped a group that featured the likes of Croatia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Australia are $201, while Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Panama are on the last line of betting, at $501.
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