I’m excited. You’re excited. We’re excited. Can you guess why?
Yes, that’s right! Fans across the world are gearing up for Thursday when the 2018 World Cup begins. This year’s edition of the biggest sporting event in the world is set to be an absolute stomper, with some amazing group match-ups to take in early on and the potential for some spectacular knockout stage games down the line.
32 teams will take part in this years proceedings in Russia. Not only is it their first time hosting the gig - it’s the first time a World Cup has been held anywhere in Eastern Europe. The hosts will take on Saudi Arabia in the opener this Thursday evening, setting the stage for what is sure to be a truly exciting tournament for bettors across the world.
Let’s cut to the chase. The question on soccer betting enthusiasts’ minds, as it always is just prior to a World Cup, is who will go on to win the most coveted prize in sports history? Well lucky for you Gambling.com’s top soccer contributors have thrown their interesting predictions into the mix!
“My favourites for the World Cup are Brazil. Having bounced back after their humiliation to the hands of Germany, Tite has his countrymen playing with vigour, panache and a sense of ruthlessness that was missing before. They will ease through the group stages and have the experience to negotiate the later rounds. It is Brazil’s to lose.”
“I think France will win. The draw looks like they should reach the semi-finals at least, and they have so much quality in their squad that they could easily win it from that point. Their squad has the highest total transfer value, and third highest wages of any country at the tournament. If that's not an indication of quality, what is?“
“I fancy Spain to bounce back from the failure of 2014 to win the tournament. They’ve freshened things up with a bit more dynamism and energy, but can still control games like few other teams in the tournament. Throw in a mean defence and world-class goalkeeper and they have most of the ingredients you’d look for in a winner.”
“I think it’s tough to call this year. It’s got to be Germany for me though. Many will assume that, much like Spain after their period of international success, they are set for a bit of a downfall. I don’t see it that way though. Sure we’ve seen some of the greats like Lahm and Schweinsteiger retire, but I think that there is enough talent in the younger faces of this squad that can make up for any potential shortcomings in Russia.”
“To me it seems like this is Brazil’s year. They are well-balanced throughout and have more experience than some of the younger sides such as France. The Coach Tite has done great work throughout qualifying and has formed a winning mentality among his players too.”
“I think Brazil are the most likely winners. They’re more experienced than France, a more complete and well-balanced team than Argentina while also having a desperate hunger after their poor showing at home four years ago.”
“I think Spain are a no brainer for the World Cup this year. They’ve shown significant promise since their last tournament outing. Experienced international players like David Silva and Sergio Busquets partnered up with the likes of Asensio and Niguez will make all of the difference in this competition and La Roja will be hungry for international success again.”
“I think Belgium will shock a lot of people and win the World Cup as a dark horse. This is a golden generation and a side bursting with elite talent and the normal superpowers are for the most part either mixed in terms of experience or young. The key is going to be getting them to play together, but if they do I see them pulling it off.”
What do you think of the Gambling.com contributors’ picks for this year’s World Cup? Tweet us @gambling_com and let us know!