"Dunga & Lula World Cup Trophy" by Marcello Casal Jr (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The World Cup draw has been made and we now know who will face off against each other in the group stages of the tournament. The draw has been kind to some teams, including Germany and Brazil, who will strongly fancy their chances of winning the overall tournament.
After the draw was made, the latest football betting had Germany as +450 favorites to win the tournament, with Brazil in behind them at +500. These two have been handed relatively comfortable draws, so it is no surprise to see them head the betting, with France behind them priced up at +550 and they have also been given a fairly easy group.
The Germans find themselves in a group with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden, and should fancy their chances of beating all three of those clubs. The Germans won all ten of their group matches, and conceded just four goals in what was a procession for them through to the knockout stages. While Sweden are fairly strong at home, they do not travel well and the same could be said about Mexico, who always perform better when in South America, compared to anywhere else in the world. South Korea have had a good run at the World Cup recently, but they lack the quality to bring down the Germans and anything other than a Germany win in this group would be a shock.
Brazil are another of the favorites to be given a fairly easy group and they will go up against Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland. All three of those have a shot at making second place and qualifying for the next stage, but none should get anywhere close to Brazil and the South American giants should win all three of their qualifying games. Brazil won their qualifying group by ten points, losing just one of 18 games and are worthy second-favorites going into the tournament next summer.
"Germany wins 4th World Cup" by Marcello Casal Jr (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Elsewhere, away from the two favorites, France will fancy their chances of winning their qualifying group before going a long way in the tournament, but other than that, the rest look very close. We have a great clash between Spain and Portugal to look forward to in group B, and the same between Belgium and England in group G. In group D, Argentina have been paired with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria, three teams who are capable causing an upset in that group. After a poor qualification round the pressure will be on Argentina to perform when they head out to Russia, and things are not going to be easy for them.
After the draw on Friday, Germany and Brazil look worthy favorites for Russia 2018, although France are not too far behind and look to have a similarly easy group to navigate. The front two look to be very strong and anything other than deep runs in the tournament for both Germany and Brazil will come as a huge surprise, such is the quality they have on paper.