This is a guest contribution by Valentyn Kyrylenko. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
The teams with the highest preference for the World Championship 2018 are the national teams of Brazil, Germany, France and Spain.
Brazil passed its qualification without any hitches and outran their nearest competitor by 10 points. However this is not surprising. Their line-up are powered by a series of talented individuals, and team coaches. Tite partially announced which players will hit the field: Alisson, Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo Vieira, Casemiro, Renato Augusto, Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho, Fernandinho, Willian, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino.
Half of the above mentioned players may decide the course of any match by themselves. If the Brazilians ultimately manage their team play, they will be extremely hard to stop.
The Team will be based in Sochi. The choice for the city was dictated not only for its infrastructure, but also for having the most favorable climate for players. They have a relatively weak group for the Championship: Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia. If they manage to implement their tactical developments and team play, Brazil may well have all the chances to win the World Championship once again.
Germany, similarly to Brazil, qualified without any difficulties: 10/10 wins, 43 goals scored and only 4 missed. German machine is the second favorite after Brazil, and there is a reason behind it. Germany is an acting World Champion for 2014, winner of the Confederations Cup in 2017, bronze medalist of the European Championships in 2016 and also in 2012. They are really looking forward to win this tournament.
The majority of German national teammates play together in Bundesliga, knowing each other very well, and it’s their clear advantage. Moreover, many players play for the same club – Bavaria. Clearly, this allows the team to have a certain advantage over Brazil in this area, whose bright individuals play worldwide and meat each other basically only in the training camps.
Manuel Neuer should start a full-time training in March. If his treatment after surgery on his left foot goes well, he will hit the field in April and will participate in the World Championship subject to quickly gaining the form. Such an experienced goalkeeper as Neuer without a doubt will be an additional advantage for the Germans on their way to a coveted trophy.
Spain appears to be the third force capable to withstand Brazil and Germany. They passed the qualification without any surprises: 9 wins, 1 tie versus Italy, 36 goals scored and 3 missed. The backbone of this team are players from Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish national team, as well as Brazil and Germany, also has its own unique playing style.
The Spanish team debuted in the world soccer arena quite recently, becoming the World Championship in 2010 and European Championships in 2008 and 2012. In 2018 they have all the chances to prove that Spanish footballers are one of the best players in the world.
France, on the other hand looks much weaker in comparison to Brazil and Germany. Their qualification was not a piece of cake. Defeat from Sweden, two ties versus Belarus and Luxembourg, uncertain minimal wins over lower class competitors clearly show, that France hit the ladder only in domestic European Championship 2016, taking the 2nd spot, and now leaving them in a suspended state.
Core team footballers primarily play for the different English and Spanish clubs, that affects their team play capabilities. If France does not solve their issues and will continue to show the same football quality as per qualification, their chances to win the Championship will be greatly diminished.
If I would be asked to name several national teams that have the highest chances to win the tournament, I would say they are Brazil, Germany and Spain. Each of these three has its own strengths and weaknesses, and most likely, the battle for the World Championship 2018 trophy will commence between them. It is impossible to highlight one clear preference, as each mistake made can cost a lot. All national teams should win their groups without much efforts, and everything will be decided during the playoff stage. I would also distribute the chances to win the trophy the following way: 40% for Brazil & Germany and 20% for Spain.
We can be sure of one thing only – we will face the football of the highest level and it would be a blatant mistake not to follow the Championship games. Very soon we will witness the creation of the new football history.
About the author:
Valentyn Kyrylenko is the VP of Business Development for BetInvest.com. You can meet BetInvest at stand 23 during the Betting on Football Conference March 20-23, 2018 in London.