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With the World Cup fast approaching and the chosen 23-man squads starting to be revealed, it is a perfect time to analyse the hot favourites for this year’s competition and give you some Free World Cup 2014 Betting Tips.

The hosts Brazil, their arch rivals Argentina and the two top European hopes Spain and Germany, look the most likely to get their hands on the prize in Rio De Janerio on July 13th. The holders Spain have enjoyed a wonderful few years but if key players hit form and a bit of luck can be gathered on the way, several countries will have a chance to write their name in World Cup winner’s history. So who are the main countries to look out for?

Brazil

World Cup Betting Odds: 3/1 with William Hill

Brazil are the bookies favourites at around 3/1 and there is no surprise why. The home advantage is always going to be an important factor as the team will be backed by a chorus of steel drums and a sea of yellow cheering them on. The most successful nation in World Cup history will be full of confidence after their Confederations Cup victory in 2013, thumping Spain 3-0 in the final. They kick-off this summer’s competition on the 12th June against Croatia in Sao Paulo where the nation will be right behind them. Mexico and Cameroon are the other teams in Group A, but with the raucous home support and a team full with talent they should find themselves comfortably as group winners.

The quality within the Brazilian squad is clear to see. From their captain at the back, Thiago Silva, to Barcelona’s £50million superstar striker Neymar, their ability is bursting through. Their manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was also their manager as they won their fifth FIFA World Cup title back in 2002. His experience in guiding a nation to World Cup victory will be invaluable this summer as the team will be playing in front of a passionate, but expectant home crowd.  The ability to handle this pressure will determine whether they can gain that elusive 6th World Cup.

Germany

World Cup Betting Odds: 6/1 with Coral

In 2006, Jurgen Klinsmann led a revolution of the German national team and since then they have not looked back, with Germany now cemented as one of the best teams in World football. Germany and their current manager Joachim Low can claim to have one of the strongest squads in this year’s tournament, with a vital mix of experience, youth, energy and quality. Notable omissions in the 30-man provisional squad include new Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, Borussia Dortmund’s midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Fiorentina striker Mario Gomez. Germany have not won the World Cup for 18 years and the pressure and expectation is growing on this relatively young generation of German internationals.

In 2010 in South Africa, they reached the semi-finals but were beaten by the eventual champions Spain and ended up finishing 3rd after a 3-2 victory against Uruguay in the third place play-off. However, since then the German national team has further grown in strength and depth with players such as Mesut Ozil, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus all consistently flourishing in Europe’s top leagues. The German squad are genuine contenders for this summer’s World Cup and if they reach their full potential they may surpass the 3rd place finish achieved in 2010.

Spain

World Cup Betting Odds: 13/2 with Bet365

Current European and World Cup champions Spain will be looking to retain the World Cup for the first time since Brazil in 1962. When assessing the Spanish 23-man squad, the strength in depth is frightening, with seasoned internationals such as Xavi, David Silva and Xabi Alonso all struggling to make the first eleven. Similarly, Diego Costa’s decision to pledge his allegiance to Spain will be a welcomed boost, with the Atletico Madrid striker scoring a remarkable 36 goals this season and thus providing Vincente Del Bosque with a striker in form and full of confidence. Man City’s Alvaro Negrado and Chelsea’s Fernando Torres have enjoyed less fruitful campaigns and so Diego Costa’s addition should be a huge asset in one of the few positions where Spain are lacking in depth.

Spain will fancy themselves as winners of Group B, drawn alongside the Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Fatigue remains the biggest worry for Del Bosque's men. With Group games stretching across Brazil the squad will be required to suffer a significant amount of travelling and with the draining weather conditions fatigue may creep into a squad where the majority have been involved in the final stages of European competitions for a number of years without a break to recover. Despite this concern, Spain remains Europe's best bet to lift the trophy come the 13th July.

Argentina

World Cup Betting Odds: 9/2 with William Hill

Argentina have disappointed in many recent World Cups, often coming up short earlier than a team of their quality should. However, they have arguably one of the best players in the world in Lionel Messi, and his talent will be supplemented by a fearsome attack including PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuaín. Argentina are the bookies second favourite at odds of 5/1 and will be looking to end a 28 year wait for the most prized trophy in football. Current manager Alex Sabella has changed the tactics of Argentina in recent years, choosing to build the team around their star man and captain Lionel Messi.

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Sabella’s decision was rewarded as Messi finally produced his Barcelona form for his country by scoring 10 goals in the qualification campaign. Argentina can look to history for inspiration as they have won the last two World Cups to be played in South and Central America.  However there is no place for Carlos Tevez who helped Juventus to the Italian league title as the team's top scorer. In his place is former Chelsea and Wigan striker Franco Di Santo who currently plies his trade at Werder Bremen, scoring 4 goals this campaign. Tevez's ability and experience will be a costly miss for Argentina with many fans have concerned over the decision, despite Tevez not representing his country since 2011.  Argentina will have the advantage of playing on their own continent and should be already acclimatised to the draining conditions of Brazil, therefore the ‘Albicelestes’ have every reason to be optimistic this summer.

Belgium

World Cup Betting Odds: 18/1 with Bet365

Many people will be wondering what the Belgium’s are feeding their stars, as they have produced a squad brimming with talent and youth on all areas of the field. Therefore, it is no surprise Belgium are being labelled as the ‘dark horse’ of this year’s World Cup in Brazil.  Fans of the Barclays Premier League will be familiar with Belgian stars including Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Man City’s Vincent Kompany and Everton’ Kevin Mirallas. Other notable squad members include powerhouse central midfielder Alex Witsel, who plies his trade at Zenit Saint Petersburg and Atletico Madrid’s goalkeeping talent Thibaut Courtois; who is a formidable barrier against any attacking threat.

In their first appearance at a World Cup since 2002, Belgium were handed one of the easiest groups in the competition facing an inexperienced Algerian team and a South Korean team ranked 55th in the FIFA World Rankings. The biggest test facing the ‘Red Devils’ are undoubtedly the Russians, who qualified as winners of Group H, ahead of Portugal. Fabio Capello is the man in charge of Russia and will be hoping for a significantly better performance in this year’s competition in comparison to his dismal campaign whilst in charge of the England national team in 2010. The Belgians have a fantastic opportunity to progress past the ‘Group Stage’ but face the prospect of facing a lethal German side or a Portugal side led by Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. These challenging ties, coupled with a lack of World Cup experience within the Belgium squad and a shortage of depth in defence, may result in the Belgians heading for an early exit.

Long Shots

World Cup 2014 Betting Odds

Ivory Coast: 150/1 with William Hill

Uruguay: 28/1 with William Hill

Italy: 25/1 with Bet365

England: 33/1 with Bet365

The Ivory Coast will be Africa's biggest hope if players like Yaya Toure and Dider Drogba can deliver on the world stage.

Uruguay will always have a chance with the attacking presence of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez up front. However, they have frailties at the back, with an aging Deigo Lugano past his best and inconsistent goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, which may be too costly against the better teams in the competition.

Italy will hope to repeat the form they showed in 2006 to win the trophy. But with an squad potentially past their best and the unpredictable Mario Balotelli, getting past the quarter finals would be a good achievement.

England will do well to get out of a tough group consisting of Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. With no expectation from the media or fans England can go into the World Cup free from the burden of expected success which has so often been a hindrance for England in past tournaments.

World Cup 2014 Betting Tip

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Thatsbettingtips Staff

Thatsbettingtips Staff

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