The World Cup is renowned as one of the, if not the major soccer betting event. It is the world’s biggest single-event sporting competition and takes place every 4 years, with teams from every continent eligible to qualify. Winning the World Cup is generally considered the top prize for international association soccer teams. Playing in the FIFA World Cup is recognized as the absolute highest honor for a player on the international stage, and as such, places in a team’s squad are hard fought for. Argentinian great Lionel Messi summarizes the unpredictable nature of the competition best: ‘You have to show up in the World Cup, and in the World Cup anything can happen’. World Cup betting is widespread, with millions of fans across the world willing to stake on their home country taking home the prize, regardless of the odds.
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Qualifying for the World Cup is no easy task for a team. Games are played in the 3 years prior to the competition to establish who will compete at the World Cup Finals. Host nations automatically qualify for the World Cup Finals, while every other nation plays qualifying matches in their respective continental zones to narrow down the starting field of 210 countries. Depending on the confederation, qualification is obtained through a knockout or league format competition. Previously, the winner of a World Cup would gain automatic entry to the next competition, but this ended in 2001 when it was announced by FIFA that the winners of the Japan/Korea World Cup in 2002 would not gain automatic berth and would instead have to qualify as normal.
The World Cup Finals are played over the course of a month, generally during the Summer. The host nation is expected to construct (or already have) a stadium with a minimum capacity of 60,000 attendees for the opening and closing games of the competition. The team groups that make up the World Cup Finals are decided by where each team came in the qualification rounds. The World Cup Finals are attended by hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world during the course of the competition and require massive infrastructure efforts from the host nation to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The World Cup Final is generally played in the largest stadium near or in the capital city of the host country and accounts for a massive portion of international World Cup betting.
As with any major sporting competition, the unpredictable nature of the opening rounds of the World Cup can make the outright winner of the competition particularly difficult to bet on. Top online sportsbooks offer group betting, where you can pick the country you believe will win a group, and also the countries you believe will qualify from each group. When betting on the opening rounds, it’s important to look at the condition of each team, and in particular how they performed in the World Cup qualifiers in the preceding years.
Make sure to take note of the form of individual players in their domestic leagues before making any concrete decisions. Keep an open mind when it comes to teams that aren’t the strongest on paper, as every World Cup tends to enjoy some big surprises in the early stages. Observe strikers that perform well and score solid goals in opening games. An initial goal boost can help a player’s confidence and may give an early head start on the Golden Boot award. World Cup odds can differ massively for top goalscorers in comparison to their odds in their respective leagues for the equivalent prize.
As the competition progresses, so do the stakes. Betting the Round of 16, Quarter and Semi-Finals in a World Cup can be a challenge. Betting on the outright winner may prove a little more manageable at this stage, as the field will have narrowed and it may be clearer who the strongest teams are. Many sportsbooks offer ‘each way’ bets (similar to golf betting), allowing the better to predict two bets, one that the country will win the tournament and one for them to reach the final. Placing an ‘each way’ bet may be more effective for you at this stage if you are finding it difficult to distinguish an outright winner. Try to focus on teams that have struggled to reach the Round of 16 and those that have sailed through.
It is normally the most watched television event of that year and as such, it garners a great deal of attention from sportsbooks. The obvious bet to stake some cash on is the winner of the final, but bookies offer a variety of other choices for soccer fans to avail of, which makes betting on the last game of the competition as exciting as possible. Expect odds on bets from who will take the first corner to whether or not there will be a red or yellow card during the game. UK sportsbooks expect approximately £1,000,000,000 to be placed in bets over the course of the entire World Cup.
|Year||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team|
|2006||Italy||1-1 (5-3 P)||France|
There are many different awards presented at the conclusion of a World Cup:
The cultural privilege of hosting the World Cup Finals is decided through a bidding process with many countries submitting their bids years in advance - not dissimilar to the process used for the Olympic Games. The World Cup Finals fixtures are released by the host country months in advance of the beginning of the competition, allowing ample time for teams and fans to organize travel to the event. Some sportsbooks allow betters to wager on the hosts of the next World Cup.
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