who will win the world cup betting preview

Who Will Win The World Cup?

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Group A

Russia

Saudi Arabia

Egypt

Uruguay

Group B

Portugal

Spain

Morocco

Iran

Group C

France

Australia

Peru

Denmark

Group D

Argentina

Iceland

Croatia

Nigeria

Group E

Brazil

Switzerland

Costa Rica

Serbia

Group F

Germany

Mexico

Sweden

Korea Rep.

Group G

Belgium

Panama

Tunisia

England

Group H

Poland

Senegal

Colombia

Japan

Who Will Win The World Cup 2018?

In trying to figure out who will win the World Cup it is difficult, perhaps foolhardy, to look beyond the usual suspects. 

Since England's World Cup victory on home soil in 1966 the World Cup has been won by one of six countries. Germany (as West Germany in 1974, 1990), Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and France. 

Even more incredibly the only other side to reach a final in those twelve were The Netherlands. With both Italy and The Netherlands absent from this year's tournament we can narrow it down even more. 

Should we use history as a guide we can suggest with a high degree of confidence the team who will win the World Cup this year will be one of;

  • Germany
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • trophy
    France
  • trophy
    Argentina

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This may seem simplistic (it is) but the fact remains for anyone outside of those five to win they may need to overcome at least two of those sides in a one off match. While any side may be able to overcome any other side on any given day asking them to overcome a behemoth twice, perhaps more, is pushing the boundaries of probability. 

For example Russia could beat Spain in the last sixteen. They may be well worth their win. They may then face Argentina. Get through that and they could run into Germany or Brazil in the semi-final. 

Even Belgium or England who have landed an easy group draw are likely to run into Brazil or Germany by the quarter final stage. In 2014 five of the eight quarter finalists were one of the big seven nations (including The Netherlands who have never actually won it). All hopes of an underdog victory were gone completely before the  semi-finals. 

This is why it is so difficult for sides other than the big seven to even make a final. This is perhaps why The Netherlands, who have been one of the world's top sides for most of the last forty years have never won the World Cup.

But does this mean we can confidently predict who will win the World Cup this year? So the theory goes. However this year there may be reason to think a little differently.

The Year Of The Underdog?

In modern day World Cup terms these seven sides are the only top tier nations. The rest are mere pretenders, some of which have delusions of grandeur. Unless you have made a final since 1970 (inclusive) you are not a top tier nation. 

However, France made their first final appearance in 1998. Home advantage proving enough for them to go on and win it. They made the final again in 2006 (the famous Zidane headbutt) losing out to Italy. 

Spain made their first final appearance in 2010. Like France they went on to win the competition. And like each of the two champions before them they exited the next competition in the group stage. 

Therefore it is not inconceivable that someone can break the ceiling and join the top tier. Particularly this year when there is, potentially, an extra advantage. 

Nobody said this was easy. 

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For the first time since 2002 the big seven nations are not represented at the World Cup. (Co)Incidentally the team absent from the finals on that occasion was The Netherlands. 

Both South Korea (as hosts) and Turkey made the semi-finals on that occasion and Turkey didn't have to face one of the big seven until Brazil at the semi-final stage.

This came about due to some poor group showings. Argentina and France both bowed out with Italy failing to win their group. As a result they met the plucky hosts on their way to the semis. Knocking both Italy and Spain out in the process. 

But Turkey's passage in particular was made much easier by the absence of three of the big seven nations from the second round. And this year something similiar may well occur. 

We are already missing The Netherlands and Italy. It only takes one of the remaining five to make a mess of the group games to leave only four qualifying. And, historically, one of them usually does (the reigning champions on the last three occasions). 

It's worth repeating it is the presence of the big seven nations that usually prevents one of the second tier nations having any chance. 2002 was also the last time at least three of the the semi-final places weren't taken by one of the seven top tier sides.

You have to go back to 1994 for the previous time that happened. Sweden and Bulgaria came within one game of breaking the ceiling that year. Which was the last time before 2002 one of the big nations failed to qualify (France). 

Perhaps there is a correlation here. Perhaps the absence of one of the big guns makes it easier for one of the underdogs and this year we are missing two. 

So, perhaps, this could be the year one of the lesser fancied sides makes a breakthrough and becomes only the eighth side since 1970 to make the World Cup final. 

But if any do which team might it be? And are any of them worth taking a chance on?

A Closer Look At The Most Likely Sides

who will win the world cup betting preview Belgium

Belgium

Championship Odds

11/1

Coach

Roberto Martinez

Star Player

Eden Hazard

The Belgian attack is a match for most if not all the world's defences on a good day. Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku contributed to the goals making them Europe's joint top scorers in qualifying. 

Whether they finish first or second in their group they should be setting their sights on the quarter finals. But if all goes to plan that's where they run into either Germany or Brazil. 

Of all the top tier sides the ones who perform at their best most often are Germany and Brazil. It makes it difficult for Belgium. Very difficult. And at 11/1 it's a little disingenuous to even consider them outsiders. The bookies clearly don't think so. 

who will win the world cup betting preview England

England

Championship Odds

18/1

Coach

Gareth Southgate

Star Player

Harry Kane

With Harry Kane in their side England are always a threat but under Gareth Southgate they haven't been the most prolific side in Europe.  

In the same group as Belgium they should also be eyeing the quarter finals. They also ought to take confidence from their latest friendly results. Four matches against top tier sides were navigated without defeat and only one goal conceded.

They will be difficult to beat so if they can repeat those friendly performances when it counts perhaps they are a penalty shoot out away from the semis. Although that might just count them out. 

who will win the world cup betting preview Portugal

Portugal

Championship Odds

25/1

Coach

Fernando Santos

Star Player

Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal landed in the group of death with Spain and the African champions, Morocco. Even getting out of the group could be a difficult ask.  

With Ronaldo in your corner though there is always a chance. And Portugal are the current European champions. Which they managed by winning once through ninety minutes in seven matches. That kind of form could get you through the latter stages if it can be replicated.  

Also in their favour they have one of the easier groups (Group A) on their side of the draw so the quarter finals should be their aim. The top tier sides then to come into it are Argentina and France. Two sides who often fail to show. At least in the early rounds. That could give them hope. 

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who will win the world cup betting preview Uruguay

Uruguay

Championship Odds

28/1

Coach

Oscar Washington Tabarez

Star Player

Luis Suarez

Uruguay can top their group after landing a relatively easy draw. But come the second round and the qualifiers from the group of death lie in wait. That makes even a quarter final berth a difficult path to navigate.

But they do have two of the best strikers in world football to rely on. Suarez and Cavani will make it difficult for any defence to marshall them. 

They also finished ahead of Argentina, Colombia and Peru in qualifying so they are coming here in good form. Will they keep their discipline, though?

who will win the world cup betting preview Croatia

Croatia

Championship Odds

33/1

Coach

Zlatko Dalic

Star Player

Luka Modric


Croatia will be hoping Argentina's qualifying form follows them to the World Cup group stages. If so they possess the quality to stick it to them and top the group potentially avoiding France in the next round. 

The quarter finals would then pair them with the winners of the Group A and B second round clash. That could (I stress could) result in a quarter final that avoids a top tier team. 

This may be why they are the dark horses for many and it is hard to argue against. But to get to a final they will still have to overcome at least one top tier side. 

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Which Of These Are The Most Likely Underdog Who Will Win The World Cup?

Belgium can be discounted purely on price. This is not to say they won't be the best performing of the sides I have looked at but at 10/1 or 11/1 they are priced too close to the favourites to be worthwhile. 

England also don't look like they can justify being an 18/1 shot. With the pressure of expectancy that always comes and the dangers of being in Germany and Brazil's side of the draw. 

Which leaves Portugal, Uruguay and Croatia. All three have the potential to avoid the top tier sides until the latter stages. That should be a big consideration. 

But of course this all remains conjecture until the group stages are played out. If Germany fall victim to the 'champions curse' it opens it right up for Belgium or England. 

Historically Spain, France and Argentina have been known to be slow starters. But any of the top tier sides could qualify in second place bringing a second round meeting with another top tier side into play opening up a chance for any of the underdogs. 

Also, there are other underdogs perhaps deserving of at least a mention. Colombia (40/1) performed exceptionally well in Brazil 2014. Being on European soil may negate some of the advantage they had but they can't be discounted completely.

Switzerland (150/1) are ranked six in the world (FIFA rankings. I know. I know.) and only lost out on topping their qualification group on goal difference to Portugal. 

Peru (300/1) are ranked eleven by FIFA and come to the World Cup with some expectation. Although a two leg playoff win over New Zealand and a victory over an understrength Scotland in a friendly hardly qualifies them.    

But mind nobody expected South Korea to make the semis in 2002 and few could have expected Sweden or Bulgaria to do similiar in 1994. 

So the potential for shocks is there. Most notably, the absence of two top tier nations makes it as good a chance as ever. 

It could be the year we see a breakthrough side, Unless of course it's Uruguay who have won two World Cups already. 

About the Author Vincent Mulligan

Vincent is the originator of Scottish Football Tips. He has dragged the site kicking and screaming (him not the site) to become the leading tipster site for Scottish Football. Wherever you see the name 'Fitba Tips' you'll know he has left his mark. Not necessarily a good thing.

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