Even though the 2014 World Cup just ended, sportsbooks already have the 2018 World Cup Odds available. The next World Cup will be held in Russia. Germany’s Mario Goetze scored the winning goal in extra time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Argentina in a tight and tense World Cup final that was decided by one moment of brilliance. It was a goal that gave Germany its fourth World Cup title, equal second with Italy on the list of all-time champions and just behind Brazil’s five. It looks like the Germans might tie Brazil as sportsbook Bovada have Germany as 5/1 favorites to repeat as World Cup Champions. Below is a preview of the top four countries looking forward to having a decent shot at winning the 2018 World Cup.
The Germans are defending champions. They have played in 16 World Cups since World War II and reached at least the semifinals in 12 of them. Neuer will be back. Hummels, Boateng, Kroos, Ozil, Schurrle, Muller and Gotze will all be under 30. So will talented players such as Marco Reus, the Bender twins and Ilkay Gundogan who did not make it for 2014. Germany also has young stars such as Julian Draxler waiting for a chance. Khedira, Lahm, and Schweinsteiger may be possibilities, depending on fitness. A “Spain-type run” may be overstating things, but Germany will be a probable favorite.
Argentina underwhelmed, in a lot of ways. But, they came really, ridiculously close to winning the entire tournament. Messi, Aguero, Higuain and Di Maria should be back for one more run. So will 24-year-old defender Marcus Rojo, who had an excellent time in Brazil. They can replace like for like defensively. The issue, as it has been the last two cycles, will be maximizing Messi. That means moving the ball fluidly from back to front and having someone who can (gasp) play him through on goal. Four years, under sound stewardship, may be enough time to develop a midfield. Or, perhaps, find a fountain of youth for Riquelme.
Spain needs a major rebuilding job. Fortunately, they have a ton of talent with which to do it. Their U-21 teams won back-to-back European Championships in 2011 and 2013. The downside of the “golden generation” has been those players getting shunted to the side with the national squad. Isco, Koke, Alvaro Morata, Iker Muniain and David De Gea are possible stars just getting established. They will be in their primes in 2018. Not to mention 24-year-old midfielder Ander Herrera who Manchester United just bought for $50 million. Expect 2014 to be a blip, not a sign of things to come.
Brazilian soccer has major, systemic issues regarding player development. That said, it’s not a direct relationship with the national team. While Brazil crapped out spectacularly at the 2014 World Cup, it happened in the semifinal, without their two essential players. Neymar is an elite star and a leader to build around. Brazil has players – Oscar, Willian, Paulinho – who will be under 30 in 2018 and can be salvaged. Bernard, Lucas Moura and Marquinhos are ones to watch for the future. Brazil need a viable striker and a more creative, possession holding midfield. They have the talent for the latter and they can find the former in four years. Also worth noting: a number of Brazilians, for better or for worse, have experience playing at club level in Russia and Ukraine.
FIFA World Cup 2018 – Outright Winner
Czech Republic 66/1
Ivory Coast 100/1
South Korea 150/1
Costa Rica 300/1
Republic of Ireland 500/1
South Africa 1000/1
Northern Ireland 2000/1
2018 World Cup Russia
When: Qualifying begins July 24-25, 2015
Pick: Germany 5/1
The Bottom Line: We recommend you sign up with Bovada to receive a 10% sign up bonus heading into the 2018 World Cup.