Confederations Cup win confirms Brazil World Cup 2014 favouritism

8th July 2013 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Betting & Odds
World Cup Betting & Odds

The celebrations at the Maracana Stadium in Rio for the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup, were jubilant. Brazil had just beaten the reigning World and European champions Spain, by 3 goals to nil, after an exhilarating display of free-flowing attacking football to deservedly win the 2013 Confederations Cup. The victory was indeed a grand one, that sent shockwaves through the world of international football, but there are still question marks surrounding Brazil’s claim to win a 6th World Cup on home soil next summer.

Before the tournament, critics were quick to point out that the Brazil side was young and inexperienced at international level, and that they might not yet be ready to challenge for major honours. However, the team seemed to have gelled together perfectly in the Confederations Cup, and players such as Oscar, Paulinho and Hulk, as well as Neymar, the jewel in the crown for this modern day Brazil side, all put in performances worthy of champions. Amongst the energetic youth of the side, some old heads were also influential in the tournament victory at both ends of the pitch, with Fred providing the goals at one end and the reliable Julio Cesar performing goalkeeping heroics at the other.

2014 World Cup Betting Odds at online betting site Bet365
Brazil 10/3, Argentina 5/1, Germany 5/1, Spain 11/2, Italy 20/1, Belgium 16/1, Holland 20/1, England 20/1

There is no doubt that the comfortable victory over Spain would have given Brazil a healthy dose of confidence. Spain had looked unbeatable for the best part of 5 years, and then they were suddenly being outplayed and outclassed in every area of the pitch. However, in reflection of the game, Spain would argue that fortune was not on their side that evening and that they are unlikely to be involved in a match where so many factors go against them ever again. A David Luiz goal-line clearance was followed by a Sergio Ramos penalty miss and then a Gerard Pique red card, in what can only be described as a disastrous Spanish performance.

Brazil are now the favourites to lift the 2014 World Cup, and it is yet to be seen if this will have a positive or negative effect on the team. This summer, the team were unfancied by many to be successful, and were therefore allowed to play with the minimum of pressure. Next summer, this will almost certainly not be the case. The world will be watching Neymar and his team mates and expecting a great performance every time they set foot on the pitch. The weight of a nation’s expectations can be a heavy load to carry.

Other factors will also be firmly in Brazil’s favour in one year’s time though. The home fans will be as noisy and as supportive as ever, as they try to give their icons a lift in their quest to be crowned Champions of the World once more. The heat and humidity in Brazil appeared to be a problem for the European teams this summer, and playing in excessive temperatures can certainly take its toll on players who aren’t accustomed to playing competitive football in those conditions. There is also the fact, perhaps not entirely unrelated to the weather in South America, that a team from outside the continent has never lifted the World Cup there before.

Another nation that will be buoyed by this fact is Argentina. They currently sit at the top of the South American qualifying group, and will be amongst the favourites to lift the trophy next year. There is no doubt that they have the quality in their side to do so, with Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria being just a couple of the superstars in their starting lineup.

If the world is expecting Neymar and his team mates to perform, then the expectation on Lionel Messi’s shoulders to perform will be close to unbearable – although if any man can replicate the performance of Diego Maradona in 1986, and win the World Cup almost single-handedly, it is certainly him.

Despite their poor performance against Brazil, Spain have no other reasons not to be confident about defending their title in 2014. They did manage to reach the final of the Confederations Cup, and were often masters of their own demise in their game against the hosts. The nucleus of the side that won 3 major tournaments in a row is still together, and after Spain recorded another victory in the U21 European Championships this summer, another injection of top quality youth into the squad looks to be on the horizon.

Of the other European contenders, Germany will be hoping that this is the year that their team finally comes of age. They were expected to perform better in last summer’s European Championship and in the 2010 World Cup, but their young squad failed to perform. With these experiences on board, they may feel much more equipped to finally live up to their potential.

Italy also took part in the Confederations Cup, and managed to take Spain to a penalty shoot-out in the semi-final, where some better fortune might have seen them contest the final against Brazil. They will face questions again over an ageing squad, but they can never be ruled out of the running in a major tournament.

 




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