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Russia 2018 – Who’s going to win?

By on 19th October 2017

Qualification is almost over for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, and a much clearer picture of whom is likely to triumph is now available. Here we take a quick look at those teams thought ‘most likely’ to snatch the FIFA World Cup trophy from German hands … if Germany don’t repeat their 2014 triumph, that is. In short, which teams are likely to feature highly when it comes to the World Cup 2018 betting?

The teams so far guaranteed a place in the 2018 tournament are Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, France, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia and Panama. There are ten spaces in the tournament left to fill.

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that Germany are currently the pre-tournament favourites for the competition. Joachim Low’s ruthlessly efficient side breezed through their qualification group, winning all ten games and conceding a mere four goals. Perhaps not as talented as their 2014 team, the Germans can still call on class acts such as Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller.

Brazil will be doing all they can of course to succeed Germany as World Champions. The nation has probably still not recovered from the 7-1 thrashing the Germans handed out to Brazil in the quarter finals of the 2014 tournament, and on Brazilian soil, no less. Brazil will be going all-out to prevent a recurrence of that horror, but despite having the positive attacking merits of Neymar, Phillippe Coutinho and Paulinho, Brazil’s traditional defensive frailties are still very much in evidence.

In most bookmakers’ eyes Spain are thought to be the best-placed team to beat both Brazil and Germany to the World Cup title, even though they are not the giants they were six or seven years ago. Since September 2016 though Spain have played fourteen internationals, winning eleven and drawing three. Any side that can call upon the talents of Sergio Busquets, David de Gea, David Silva, Gerald Pique and Sergio Ramos can never be under-estimated.

Argentina survived a real scare in order to qualify for the 2018 finals – indeed at one stage, after defeats by Brazil and Bolivia and successive draws against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru it seemed very likely that the Argentina team would not find themselves in Russia come the summer. As ever, it was Messi to the rescue, as the Argentinian legend scored a hat-trick to pull his side from behind against Ecuador and sneak into the qualification places above Peru and Chile. Beyond Messi Argentina’s squad seems bloated with players who’ve constantly under-performed on the international stage, so despite what the bookies say, and Argentinian victory in Russia looks wholly unlikely.

Those hoping for an England victory at Russia 2018 might want to get their bumps felt. True, England breezed through qualification, but they were drawn in one of the easiest European World Cup qualifying groups. The finals will be an altogether different affair, and despite the undoubted promise of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, the rest of the talent at Gareth Southgate’s disposal has an extremely mundane look about it.

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