On the eve of the World Cup, it’s time to analyse who is going to be crowned champions. WhoScored.com are on hand to look at the favourites and deliver their verdict…
Spain come into the tournament under a cloud of uncertainty. Real Madrid’s decision to announce Julen Lopetegui’s appointment as Zinedine Zidane’s successor earlier this week has the potential to derail La Roja in their bid for success. Spain have enough talent to rival any nation, but the disarray at the top hinders their chances of glory, particularly in the wake of Lopetegui’s sacking.
This has translated into odds of Spain winning the World Cup at 13/2, which while the third highest, is a risk considering the off the pitch antics. Brazil remain the favourites with the punters at 4/1 and for good reason. The absence of Dani Alves is a concern, given the lack of depth at right-back, but head coach Tite has ample quality within the squad.
Russia aside, they became the first team to qualify for the World Cup as they breezed through CONMEBOL qualifying, winning 12 of 18 matches and come into the tournament on a run of just one defeat from their last 21 matches. Two of their starters - Alisson and Philippe Coutinho - featured in the WhoScored.com European team of the season, while Neymar thrived in his debut season in France with PSG, earning a WhoScored.com rating of 8.95 in Ligue 1 last term.
Of course, their hopes of landing an unprecedented sixth World Cup will be pushed to the limit by a Germany side hoping to became just the third nation in history to defend their crown. Jogi Loew’s team were hugely impressive in qualifying, scoring 43 and conceding just four, though their performances in the build up to the tournament has been somewhat iffy.
Defeat to Austria and an underwhelming showing against Saudi Arabia was far from ideal for Germany, yet Die Mannschaft have what it takes to turn on the style when it matters. At 5/1, they are the second favourites to lift the trophy and after success in Brazil, Germany are likely to be there or thereabouts in the final running given the personnel at Loew’s disposal.
France and Argentina (are currently fourth and fifth favourites, respectively, but with the squad struggling to click, are perhaps ones to avoid. Then there are the dark horses in Uruguay and Belgium , but the smart money is one either Brazil or Germany at this point in time, especially following Lopetegui’s dismissal as Spain head coach on the eve of the World Cup.