A regular debate which my buddy Greg Volitich and I have been having over the past month, is who to put our money on to win this year’s World Cup in Russia. The World Cup is the greatest international football competition and the greatest sporting event in the world, and winning it is far from easy. This year looks set to be a straight shoot-out between potentially 4 or 5 teams, all of which have an equal chance of lifting the Jules Rimet trophy. For what it is worth, here is my take on the teams which you should be looking at putting your money on this year.
Since lifting the trophy in their homeland back in 1998, France have struggled to recapture any of that form in the following cups, with in-fighting and disciplinary issues never too far away. This year however, France have an incredibly strong squad with the likes of Griezmann, Mbappe, Pogba and Lloris, to name just a few. As Belgium have shown us however, a team of great individuals cannot always find success so France will have to be a team unit if they want to win.
Despite 4 years having passed since they lifted the cup in Brazil, Germany are as dangerous as always and they’ll most definitely be in with a shout of lifting the trophy. We have seen another golden German generation come through with the likes of Sane, Werner and Draxler, plus the Germans also still retain that winning experience in the likes of Muller, Gomez and Kroos. This German side is pacey, strong and they know what it takes to win.
Recovering from being decimated by Germany in their home country has not been easy for Brazil, but piece by piece they have regained some of the form which we all know that they can provide. Neymar loves playing for his country and you can expect him to light up the World Cup this year, along with youngsters such as Jesus and Casimiro. Brazil also rely on some experience with the likes of talisman Thiago Silva, as well as players like Marcelo, Alves and Willian. Brazil may struggle at the back against teams who play with pace, but defending has never been a concern for Brazilian sides as they simply look to score more goals than the opposition.
Despite having not had a great tournament in 2014, Spain can never be written off and the lower expectation may actually play into their hands this year. Iniesta, Xavi and Puyol may be gone, but the line-up is still full of some of the world’s best players, and you can most definitely expect them to advance to at least the semi finals. Spain have a relatively simple group with Portugal, Morocco and Iran, but as we all know with this tournament, a shock is never too far away.
Where does your money go this year?