The forthcoming FIFA World Cup is a bit of a Marmite thing; you either love it or hate it. But it’s surprising how many people (and, it has to be said, particularly those of the fairer sex) who start off eschewing the competition – but end up loving it every four years. The whole of the world seems to get caught up in World Cup fever when the tournament is really in full swing – and the games get really exciting in the knockout stages.
There’s always an African nation that half the world seems to be rooting for – performing some heroics before losing out valiantly to one of the traditional powerhouses of the game from Europe or South America.
And the perennial success stories will all be out in force in Brazil. Of course, the host nation is the most successful of all nations in World Cup history – having won the trophy five times, so the fact that they’re the hosts this time seems somehow fitting. You can’t imagine Brazil without football; the two things are more or less synonymous somehow. This time, the world seems to expect the hosts to make it six. As things stand, Brazil are 3-1 favourites to win the World Cup again with Betfair – and it would be a brave person to bet heavily against them.
Second favourites are Brazil’s neighbours Argentina, followed by perennial World up success story Germany whose consistency record is second to none, then the holders Spain (who have also won the last two European Championships). They’re followed by Belgium, who have their strongest squad ever, then France, followed by Italy – who happen to be the second most successful nation in World Cup history with four wins and are a very interesting long-shot at a best-priced 27-1, again with Betfair.
Then there’s Holland, England, Colombia, Uruguay and Portugal – and you could just about conceive of any of these nations contesting the final on Sunday July 14th at Rio’s famous Maracana stadium.
It promises to be a wonderful tournament and it’s going to be a great summer for lovers of the beautiful game – that’s for sure, as well as for the converts in waiting. But for anyone who’d rather not hear about it all, and certainly will not become a convert; how about Antarctica for the summer – or perhaps Greenland!?