Long-shot World Cup winner
As we move into the latter stages of the current season, the eyes of the world will gradually come to rest increasingly on Rio and the World Cup’s first ever “home-coming”. Other countries may balk a little at the description of Brazil as the “home” of football; but if we’re being 100% honest with ourselves, we know it’s true – and within the country itself, Rio really is where it’s at.
Consequently, the home nation’s team are hot favourites to lift the trophy for what would be a record sixth time (they already hold the record with five and are the only team to have played in every World Cup tournament). For the gamblers amongst us, though, the odds represent poor value. As things stand, the best odds you can land on Brazil are around 3/1, with Argentina and Germany both available around 5/1 and holders Spain at 11/2.
Any of these countries could conceivably be lifting the FIFA World Cup Trophy next summer, but none of them represent a real value bet – though the Spaniards come close. Spain as a national side hasn’t done too much wrong since they added the Euro 2012 title to their World Cup win and 11/2 doesn’t look bad value.
“El Gordo” is a national institution in Spain and, along with football and Roman Catholicism - help define the country in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Instead, if we want some real value, we have to head east across the Mediterranean a little way to Italy. Italy are the second most successful World Cup contestants of all time having lifted the trophy four times. Here, as with Latin neighbours Spain, football is close to a religion - and the World Cup holds a very special place in the nation’s heart.
Italy always seem to turn it on in the biggest competition our sport has to offer (with the one notable exception of the last tournament in South Africa of course) – and are perennially very tough to beat. Having drawn with Spain in the first round of Euro 2012, they were soundly beaten in the final – but the whole country is keen to make amends for the dreadful showing ain South Africa 2010 and at 20/1 with some bookmakers, Italy look a great value bet for Rio 2014.