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World Cup 2014 – Place your bets

Nothing beats a cheeky flutter on the World Cup to keep the interest up as the tournament goes on. Why not have a look at these quick tips and decide who to throw your cash on.

(DISCLAIMER: I am not and never claimed to be a successful gambler and will not be held accountable for loss of earnings, houses, or wives).

Stick your big bucks on:

Brazil (3/1)

A toast to the hosts with not quite the most but who will still be trying to win at all…… costs? A nation expects and Brazil’s young squad will be under more pressure to deliver than ever before. A swathe of public support (minus the protesters) and the talents of Oscar, Neymar and Fernandinho clicking into place could be enough to see them over the line.

Argentina (9/2)

The noisy neighbours who will be aiming to spoil the party. In Messi, Aguero and Di Maria, the Albiceleste possess a potent forward line. If all can remain fit, Maradona could be laughing all the way through a KFC bargain bucket.

Germany (11/2)

Jogi Löw’s German machine. It’s not often nowadays that an international manager takes charge at a fourth successive major tournament. With a record of one final appearance and two semi-final exits, Löw’s Germans are always there or thereabouts.

Spain (13/2)

Not only are La Roja always there or thereabouts, they always win the bloody thing. Gunning for success at a fourth consecutive major tournament, doubts have started to creep in as Xavi, Iniesta, et al appear to to have passed the peak of their powers. Still, the squad is brimming with talent and the the experience of winning so much silverware should keep Spanish appetites whetted.

Worth a tenner:

Netherlands (30/1)

Runners-up in South Africa four years ago, 30/1 seems a massive price for a squad boasting the talents of Van Persie and Robben. Coach Louis Van Gaal will be highly scrutinised as he prepares to take over the Manchester United hot seat after the tournament. A desire to arrive at the club with World Cup triumph to add to his already impressive CV could be a motivating factor.

Italy (25/1)

Past Italian squads often appeared to be picked much like their fine wines – better with age. This time they’ve got a hint of youth about them. Balotelli starred in Euro 2012 and he will be hoping to kick on by leading the Italians to the latter stages.

Portugal (30/1)

In 1986 Diego Maradona single-handedly led Argentina to victory. Then, after he beat England, he led his team all the way to the trophy. Who’s to say Cristiano Ronaldo, the current ‘world’s greatest player’ can’t have a similar impact on Portugal’s class of 2014? The squad should feel at home in a country that speaks the same language and one should never underestimate the capabilities of their captain and talisman. Viva Ronaldo.

Cheeky Fiver:

Belgium (20/1)

At shorter odds than the aforementioned trio, what Belgium possess in talent they lack in big tournament experience. The last time they qualified for anything was the World Cup in 2002. However, in a squad containing Kompany, Courtois, Hazard, and Van Buyten they have players picking up team and individual prizes all across Europe for their clubs. Interestingly enough, manager Marc Wilmots is the only man aside from David Moyes to ever view Marouane Fellaini as anything other than a human lampshade.

England (33/1)

Before reading on, take a minute to catch your breath and wipe those laughter tears away from your eyes.

Ready? Okay.

It’s almost becoming a cliché in itself but expectations from English fans and media have never been so low. The inclusion of Shaw, Barkley, and Sterling point to Roy Hodgson placing his faith in youth. Without the weight of expectation that plagued the previous ‘Golden Generation’, the young squad’s fearless factor could play a big role. Gerrard, Lampard, and Rooney remain to keep the kids in line. A tough group including Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica awaits.

Uruguay (30/1)

With eight South America-based players in the squad, Uruguay will have no trouble adjusting to the Brazilian surroundings and climate. Led by the Premier League’s best player in Luis Suarez, they will be aiming to go further than their 4th place finish in 2010.

There can be miracles, when you believe:

Colombia (30/1)

South American advantage. Praying on the fitness of Falcao.

Ivory Coast (125/1)

It hasn’t been a very happy birthday for Yaya Toure. Beware the backlash.

USA (200/1)

The conception that Americans don’t care about soccerball often deflects from the fact that they aren’t half bad at it. It won’t happen but Uncle Sam loves a trier.

Buy her a drink instead:

France (22/1)

A regular laughing stock at major tournaments. If they don’t self-implode before the tournament kicks off I’ll eat my pantalons.

You’d be mad not to:

Current world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo is as high as 22/1 to be player of the tournament. Get. On. That.

Happy Gambling.

James Fenton, Pundit Arena.

 

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.