Betting Spy: Spain to retain World Cup

Grant Prior 10 years ago

Only a few days to go now.

Then it’s time to pull-on that too-tight replica top, book a seat for a month on the sofa. And pick a team to bet on once England have made their inevitable exit.

The World Cup can be a minefield for punters.

But this year should be a bit simpler with four teams in with a real shout of winning the trophy.

The “big four’ heading-up the betting are Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain.

The hosts are way too short in my book at 3/1.

Brazil should cruise their group but could run in to Chile or Holland at the last 16 stage.

The weight of public expectation, Neymar’s indifferent season and a less-than-convincing back line and midfield puts me off.

Germany will be their usual efficient selves but don’t look like outright winners.

Their lack of a world class striker is a real drawback.

Miroslav Klose has a superb World Cup record. But he seems to have been playing since the days of short shorts and perms.

The conditions will also count against Germany’s natural high-tempo pressing game so I’ll happily give them a swerve.

That leaves Argentina and Spain, and it’s a very close call.

Argentina are blessed with talent across the team, but they usually find a way to implode and that’s why it’s Spain for me at 13/2.

The holders still have the best squad in the competition and know how to win big tournaments.

Their midfield is frightening while the back four and goalkeeper do all that is asked of them.

Spain won the last European championship without a centre forward.

This time they have Diego Costa – and Fernando Torres could also surprise a few people.

Possession is everything in international football – and Spain keep the ball better that anyone else.

And as for England? To be brutal we aren’t good enough and getting out of the group will be a real challenge.

Steven Gerrard is our only world class player and he would struggle to even make the Spain squad.

Hodgson’s best bet would be to go with youth and pace. But he’s too conservative for that and our old failings of not passing well enough will come back to haunt us.

As for further predictions:

The TV cameras will spend more time focused on female Brazil fans than certain matches

Wayne Rooney will look red, sweaty and bewildered most of the time as he drops ever deeper to actually get the ball

Harry Redknapp will make a bid for an unknown South American who shines in the group stages

Holland and Belgium will disappoint while Colombia, Portugal, Bosnia and Chile will fare better than expected

Backing a defender to be top scorer for us may be the play with England goals at a premium

Roy Hodgson will age at least five years during the tournament

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