For so many decades the Dark Horse who never got too far out of the starter’s gate, this weekend saw the passing away of the man who propelled Spain to an unprecedented run of success: at the age of 75, Luis Aragones, coach of Spain at their 2008 Euro success, died on Saturday.
It was Aragones who set in motion Spain’s magical run that included the 2010 World Cup victory and a second Euro triumph in 2012. Since their series of big wins, bookmakers like Bet365, Ladbrokes and William Hill have consistently placed low betting odds on Spain: in the 2014 World Cup and once more in the Euro 2016.
Overview of Odds: The Outsiders
Let’s take a quick look at the projected odds on the World Cup and see who has sneaked ahead of Spain as favorites for the competition in Brazil.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the favorites are Brazil themselves. Five time World Cup winners – though never on home soil, having lost out to Uruguay so famously in 1950 – Brazil boast Neymar as the key to their chances of taking a victory 200 million people will be putting all their hopes and passion into over the course of four weeks this summer. It is perhaps that pressure itself that is the biggest threat to Brazil walking away with the prize. If we think back to Italy in 1990 or Brazil themselves in 1950, boasting a world class team can only exacerbate the pressure on the home team to win. Whether a relatively unproven Brazilian team can thrive in the pressure cooker of the World Cup at home remains to be seen.
Fellow South Americans Argentina are the next favorites to take the 2014 World Cup. Twice champions and with an array of talent led most famously by Lionel Messi, man for man few can match Argentina. Messi has the chance to stake a claim alongside Pele and Maradona for the world’s greatest ever player if he can lead his nation to victory on the soil of his country’s bitter continental rivals.
Perhaps surprisingly, Germany sneak in ahead of Spain as the third favorites to win. The Germans are always there or thereabouts, of course, and can build off several successive tournaments of performances featuring youthful vigor that may now morph into maturity. However, no European team has ever won the World Cup outside the European continent, a challenge also faced by Spain if they are to defend their title, along with perennial contenders the Netherlands, Italy and even England.
For a dark horse to take now Spain have graduated from that distinction, your money could be well placed on Colombia, boasting quality talent and playing in familiar South American territory.