Show me the numbers!
The stat heads over at 538 say Brazil, Spain, and Germany are the favorites.
The FIFA world rankings have Germany, Brazil, and Belgium as the top three.
If the Bovada odd's makers know anything, they have Brazil, Germany, and Spain listed 1-2-3.
If history is any guide:
2014 winner Germany (no one has defended a title since Brazil won 1958 and 1962)
2010 winner Spain (won 1 time so far)
2006 winner Italy (they didn't qualify this year)
2002 winner Brazil (won 5 times so far)
1998 winner France (won 1 time so far)
Looking further back into history, the only other nations to ever win a World Cup:
Argentina (1986, 1978)
Uruguay (1950, 1930)
From listening to sports people, Brazil, Spain, and Germany are the clear favorites. But in breaking news today, the manager of Spain has just been sacked.
Getting some mention are Belgium and France for having a collection of solid top level players.
Also mentioned are Portugal and Argentina since they respectively have a GOAT (greatest of all time) level player on their squads.
Am picking France, Brazil, Spain, and Germany in the final-four with Brazil winning the whole thing.
UPDATE: France won the whole thing! Germany didn't even get out of the group stage. Spain got booted on PK by Russia in the round of 16. Brazil lost to Belgium in the quarter finals.
Other quick observations:
- Could Uruguay have dealt with France in the quarterfinal if they didn't lose Cavani to injury Probably not but it would have been more interesting.
- Portugal and Argentina with one GOAT player each lost to teams with solid players across the starting XI. Yes, soccer is a team sport and a transcendent star needs some supporting cast members.
- Brazil's Neymar has become a bit of a joke with his flopping.
- Mexico's win over Germany was the highpoint but in the end they still couldn't get past the round of 16 and so the page will turn on their "golden generation" that carried their hopes of glory.
- Russia had a magic carpet ride as is often the case of the host country. They took down Spain in PK and took Croatia to PK but came up short in a match of high drama! Not the greatest soccer but certainly the most dramatic!
- Sweden showed what a group of modest talents can do when they play with a plan and play their game. If you had said they would get to the quarter finals before the competition started you would take it.
- Columbia with James Rodriguez might have beaten England.
- England to the semi-finals was a surprise. Unlike past England teams that wilted under the expectations and off-field/on-field controversy, this group went out there and had fun and played to their abilities. In the end, their youth and inexperience came up short against Croatia. Croatia had a few of those wily veterans who simply know how to win on their club that edged out the young lions of England.
- How far would team USA have gotten? Well, CONCACAF didn't do much in the tournament. Panama and Costa Rica went without a win. In qualifications the USA lost TWICE to Costa Rica and beat Panama once and drew once. So maybe NOT making the World Cup spared them an embarrassing showing?