Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in menu_set_active_trail() (line 2404 of /usr/www/users/isport/worldcupguide/includes/menu.inc).

Spain, Germany, Argentina…who are the favourites for the 2018 World Cup?

The 2018 World Cup in Russia is quite a while away, but as they say, time and tide wait for no man. The summer of 2018 will come along soon, and it is not too early to start thinking about the possible contenders.

According to the international football betting odds from bet365.com, Germany are favourites to win the competition with a price of 9/2. Argentina, France and Brazil are joint second favourites with odds of 8/1.

Argentina and Brazil are the top two ranked nations by FIFA at the moment, and both of them will have strong squads heading into Russia. Argentina have the best footballer on the planet - or at least one of the two best players - in Lionel Messi, who will probably be at his peak in Russia. The likes of Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Javier Mascherano are all doing well too.

Brazil have one big superstar in the form of Neymar, who should succeed Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world. The Barcelona forward is a genius, and he will be the key player for Brazil in Russia. Then there is Thiago Silva, one of the best defenders in the world, and Liverpool attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who could be a world-class player in two years’ time.

Germany and Spain are the two best teams in Europe, and the duo will certainly be aiming for the top prize in Russia in 2018. Joachim Low’s 2014 World Cup winners Germany will find it hard to repeat their heroics, but with the likes of Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze all progressing well, they will fancy their chances.

Spain failed to get out of their group in 2014 and could not get past the round of 16 stage at 2016 European Championship in France, but Julen Lopetegui’s side have some of the best players in the world. David de Dea, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Silva, Juan Mata and Alvaro Morata are just some of the brilliant players the nation can call upon in Russia, although as Gerard Pique suggested after their Euro 2016 exit, they may have to change their playing style.

It is hard to see beyond Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Spain as the winners of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but could there be some shocks just like there were at Euro 2016? Not many would have expected Portugal to win Euro 2016, but they did. Wales were not even meant to qualify for the tournament in France, but they went as far as the semi-finals.

Chile, whose odds of winning the 2018 World Cup in Russia are 40/1, have clinched the Copa America for the past two editions despite the presence of Argentina and Brazil in the tournaments. What about Belgium? Perhaps they won’t be among the top five or six contenders, but surely a team comprised of Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku should be taken seriously. Moreover, they are rated at 14/1 to win the competition.

Then there is France, who finished runners-up at Euro 2016. Didier Deschamps’s side have some players, such as Hugo Lloris and Karim Benzema, who would be reaching their peak in 2018, while others such as Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane would have matured.

A lot of things could happen between now and the summer of 2018, and one would be able to properly judge the teams only then. However, as things stand at the moment, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Germany should be considered as truly top contenders for the biggest prize in football.