The FIFA World Cup is a worldwide phenomenon, captivating audiences from the top of Russia to the bottom of South Africa, yet, despite the worldwide enthusiasm, in the 19 previous World Cups, only 8 nations have won the Finals and emerged as champions. Of those 8 previous winners, 4 can be considered favourites to win this year’s tournament in Brazil. Read our review of these four teams below to find out where to put the smart wagers come World Cup time.
The Favourite Teams to Win 2014 World Cup
Despite a field of 32 teams, the 2014 FIFA World Cup has several nations that are considered the favourites by fans, bookmakers and bettors alike to win the entire tournament.
Simply put, the Spanish national team is a behemoth the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in decades. Ranked #1 in the FIFA World Rankings, Spain posted a record of 6 wins and 2 draws in their 8 qualifying matchups. In their 2010 World Cup win, the first in their history, Spain displayed dominance across all phases of play: tactics, ball control, attack and defense. Led by renowned trainer Vincente del Bosque, La Furia boasts the best goalkeeper in the world in Iker Casillas, a dominant midfield including Xabi Alonso and Xavi, as well as one of the most dangerous strikers in David Villa.
Why is #2 ranked Germany a favourite to win the 2014 World Cup? Simply put, because they are always a favourite to win any international tournament: Germany has won three World Cups (1954, 1974 and 1990) and have been the runner-up four times. In qualifiers, The Mannschaft won 9 games, with only 1 draw. Their lineup is imposing to any nation, with the diminutive fullback Phillipp Lahm as perhaps their best player. A ferocious attack, led by Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller, will keep teams on their heels, while a dominant defense, especially with 6’4” Mats Hummels in the middle, rarely allows passage.
Boy it’s gotta be good to be an Argentinian futbol fan. Not only do you get the best player in the world during the 1980’s in Diego Maradona, but you also get the best player in the past 25 years captaining your World Cup squad. Not to overstate things, but any team that boasts Lionel Messi has a chance to win it all. The Barcelona star is a blur on the pitch and partnered with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina has arguably the most frightening attack in the world. Bettors would be wise to expect lots of tournament goals for the #3 ranked Argentina.
Despite an automatic qualification as host country and a #10 world ranking, Brazil is considered by many to be a shoe-in for the semi-finals, if not the finals itself. As anyone who has ever met a Brazilian will tell you, they are a passionate people, and nothing brings out their passion like watching the Verde-Amarela play for national glory. Led by trainer “Big Phil” Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil features an all-out style that can score goals in bunches. Up front they boast the prodigious Neymar of Barcelona, along with Hulk, Oscar and Fred, while on defense they shut down opponents with Marcelo, Dani Alves and Thiago Silva.