The time has come for ‘Playing The Long Ball’ to nominate its best bet in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil winner market as 32 of the best international teams – not actually the best 32 sides – get set to kick off the big football tournament.
At the risk of sounding like a punting wimp, the best 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil winner bet involves backing more than one team because one thinks that there is terrific case for dutching Brazil and Argentina in an odds-against title play.
Host nations have an excellent record in FIFA World Cups – six wins from 19 opportunities and one should remember that at least another six home sides have had very little chance based on the pre-event odds – and so one has to rate Brazil as a serious contender for what would be its sixth title.
Brazil is a good bet to handle the pressure. In Luis Felipe Scolari, Brazil has the ideal coach for playing a FIFA World Cup on home soil because Big Phil is a master at keeping the heat off his players and he has won major events, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea Japan and last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil. If Brazil fails to make up for its 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil final loss to Uruguay – it hurts 64 years on – it will not be because of Scolari.
What keeps bringing back one to Brazil is its home record. It is no secret that Brazil is hard to beat at home but do you know when it last lost a match of any status in its own backyard? It has been more than 10 years since Brazil lost a home game – a statistic that no other team can match – and the Selecao’s triumph in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil was comprehensive, winning all its five matches, including a 3-0 defeat of Spain in the title decider.
What worries one about Brazil is its draw. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil favourite is highly likely to face, on paper, a tough assignment in the round of 16 and it is possible that defending champion Spain could stand between Scolari’s side and the quarter-finals. That is the most obvious argument against backing Brazil at the beginning.
Of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil contenders, no team has got a kinder draw than the one that Argentina received when the balls came out of the pots in December. Argentina should stroll through to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil last 16 as Group F winner and, if Brazil takes out Group A, the South American sides will not be able to meet before the final. If everything goes according to the odds, Argentina will play Switzerland in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16, Belgium in the quarter-finals and Spain in the semi-finals, although the latter could be one of half a dozen teams.
Argentina has looked very good in its recent friendly games and, while its offensive prowess grabs most of the attention because the great Lionel Messi spearheads its attack, its defence is underrated. Argentina has kept five consecutive clean sheets and it leaked just 15 goals in its 16 CONMEBOL qualifying matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.
With Brazil available at odds of 4.00 with many bookmakers, including Bet365, BetVictor and William Hill, to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and Argentina trading at odds of 5.25 with Bwin to accomplish the same feat, one can get odds of 2.27 about either Brazil or Argentina winning the title.
Spain is drawn awkwardly plus the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil playing conditions may not suit its style. Germany faces the challenge of trying to get players from Dortmund and Bayern Munchen, two sides that play completely different styles, to form a cohesive unit on the other side of the world. And one thinks that no other team is a real championship contender.