FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Photos
Russia kick off the 2018 FIFA World Cup towards Saudi Arabia on Thursday, and the match is primed to be as thrilling a spectacle as ever.
5-time winners Brazil are resurgent, reigning champions Germany stay a power to be reckoned with and the likes of Spain, Argentina and France may even have ambitions of lifting the trophy.
In the meantime, nations equivalent to Belgium, Portugal and England might be hoping to provide an upset.
Learn on for a better have a look at a number of the favourites and underdogs, full with the most recent odds from OddsShark, however first, here is a reminder of the teams:
- Saudi Arabia
- Costa Rica
- South Korea
Germany had been joint 9-2 favourites alongside Brazil—the staff they thrashed 7-1 within the semi-final of the final World Cup—however have since slipped to 19-Four behind the Selecao, who stay on the identical odds.
Die Mannschaft warmed up for this 12 months’s match by profitable the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup final summer time with what amounted to a reserve staff.
As such, it is of little shock they boast unbelievable squad depth:
Their huge array of choices is maybe equalled solely by Spain, however their odds have lengthened barely after they misplaced 2-1 to Austria of their first warm-up pleasant forward of the match, whereas their solely win in 2018 got here of their final match towards Saudi Arabia.
Group F—which additionally contains Mexico, Sweden and South Korea—is likely one of the hardest within the competitors, however Germany ought to have little hassle negotiating it regardless of their latest hiccup.
As for the Selecao, they’re a far stronger prospect this time round than they had been 4 years in the past.
Underneath supervisor Tite, Brazil aren’t solely extra resolute on the again, they’re additionally way more of a cohesive unit going ahead with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino rising as viable choices alongside Neymar.
As Squawka Soccer demonstrated, they’ve been in robust type heading into the match:
Squawka Soccer @Squawka
Brazil’s final 9 worldwide matches:
Tite working his magic. 🇧🇷🧙♂️ https://t.co/2DAQWcxfRT
Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica should not show too tough a bunch for Brazil, who might be a match for anybody within the knockout part.
England are 18-1 with OddsShark. A second World Cup win for the Three Lions is unbelievable, however they’re going to be hoping to not less than escape the group stage this time round having failed to take action in 2014.
Beating Belgium for prime spot might be an enormous ask, however Gareth Southgate’s aspect ought to have sufficient about them to get previous Tunisia and Panama after going by qualifying unbeaten.
There shouldn’t be an excessive amount of in the best way of expectation that they progress a terrific deal additional than that, given how comparatively inexperienced the squad is, per BBC Sport’s Ian Dennis:
Ian Dennis @Iandennisbbc
Younger, energetic squad named by Gareth Southgate. One of the inexperienced squads – complete of 442 caps- compared to earlier latest tournaments. 11 of 23 have beneath 20 caps.
Portugal are a fair longer 28-1, regardless of being the European champions.
They are going to be counting on Cristiano Ronaldo to fireside them deep into the match.
The Actual Madrid man has bagged 81 targets in 150 appearances for Portugal, and as he has repeatedly proven within the UEFA Champions League in recent times, he has an uncanny knack for making the distinction within the largest video games, even when his all-round performances are missing.
As with England, Portugal could have a tough time topping their group, of their case as a result of presence of Spain. Morocco and Iran are extra beatable, although, and if Ronaldo can come alive within the knockout part, they might be a darkish horse value backing.