As the host nation for this summer’s football World Cup, Brazil did not have to progress through the qualifying stage but the lack of competitive football hasn’t affected their chances of lifting the trophy in 2014 – at least that’s how most mobile betting sites see it.
With just over a month to go until the first ball is kicked, Felipe Scolari’s squad are clear favourites to take the trophy and are available at 3/1 with Paddy Power, amongst others, in the outright market. Home conditions will definitely suit Scolari’s men but are they strong enough to follow through and give you a profit?
Brazil have been placed in Group A and will kick off the tournament with an opening day clash against Croatia. On paper, that looks to be a tough game but the Croatians enjoyed mixed form in qualifying and recently crashed to a shock defeat against Scotland.
The hosts remaining fixtures are against Mexico and Cameroon, neither of whom are easy opponents. There is plenty of potential for one or two surprises but Scolari’s team should certainly make it through to the knockouts, even if they qualify in second place.
Traditionally, Brazilian teams are known for creative flair in midfield while the defence is often there just to make up the numbers. That may not be the case in 2014 however as Scolari prepares for the tournament with a solid and impressive back four.
Dani Alves, Marcelo and Thiago Silva are all established players with top European clubs and this may actually be the strongest back line that Brazil have fielded at any World Cup. There could just be some concerns between the posts however as first choice keeper Julio Cesar has barely played any club football in the last twelve months. Surplus to requirements at Queens Park Rangers, Cesar was sent out on loan to MLS side Toronto but at the time of writing has only played six games for the Canadian based club.
This is a typically exciting Brazilian midfield with several names that will be familiar to football fans around Europe. The Chelsea trio of Oscar, Willian and Ramires have enjoyed productive seasons for their club while Manchester City’s Fernandinho has been instrumental in his new side’s challenge for the Premier League title.
The Tottenham pair of Paulinho and Sandro give a more defensive and therefore balanced edge to the centre of the park.
The centre forward positions may be giving some cause for concern, particularly as star striker Neymar has experienced a mixed start to his career at Barcelona. In contrast, Hulk has improved tremendously in this campaign after a difficult first season in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg.
If the first choice pairing are struggling, Fred and Jo can cover but while they are undoubtedly experienced, they simply aren’t as prolific as the two main men.
Odds to Win World Cup 2014
There are question marks in attack but if Neymar and Hulk find form at the very start of the 2014 World Cup, it will be difficult to see any weaknesses in Scolari’s squad. The goalkeeping situation could therefore be the only barrier to Brazil delivering a profit at those 3/1 Paddy Power odds.
We expect Brazil to get a tough ride in a strong opening group but the knockout phase seems a certain goal for the home side. Beyond that, their success depends on Neymar and Hulk and if those two enjoy a productive group phase, a stake on a final place is the least that you should aim for.