As the World Cup in Russia approaches later this week, we take a look at the World Cup odds to see whether a European team will again rule the roost on their home continent or if a South American side can achieve some rare success this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
France To Win The World Cup @ 13/2 - BET NOW
Statistics can be manipulated to suit many situations but some point to a glaring trend and one of those is that, on the whole, European teams win the World Cup when in Europe and South Americans dominate in their own backyard.
The fact the best World Cup odds on a European team to win the 2018 tournament in Russia are 1/3 speaks volumes, although there is likely to be some stern resistance from some of the Latin American participants.
Let's not forget Germany bucked the trend only four years ago when Joachim Low guided Die Mannschaft to glory against Argentina on Brazilian soil, in the process becoming the first European team to triumph on the opposite side of 'The Pond'.
But no South American side has triumphed in Europe since a Pele-inspired Brazil won the 1958 tournament in Sweden so another historical shift will have to take place for things to change in Russia.
The Germans are 5/1 to retain their title this year, but it is Brazil who are the 9/2 favourites in the current World Cup betting so clearly there is some expectation that a 60-year record will be broken.
Germany arguably boast a better squad than four years ago, while Brazil look the most likely South American side to win in Russia. However, they will again have to rely on the attacking flair of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Douglas Costa with the defence traditionally their weakest link.
Spain, reigning European champions Portugal and the talent-packed Belgium squad are all worthy of consideration, but the pick of the World Cup tips is France.
Coach Didier Deschamps enjoyed World Cup success as a player on home soil back in 1998 and knows what it takes to win the trophy.
He has assembled a squad which boasts experienced heads and young attacking flair with world-class players such as Paul Pogba, Nabil Fekir, Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Anthony Martial, Blaise Matuidi, N'Golo Kante and Antione Griezmann.
Defensively the pressure could be on Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who is 11/2 to claim the Golden Glove, and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane to keep things tight and this is the one area where their challenge could hit the buffers.
However, they just fell short at home in Euro 2016 and with two more years’ experience, Les Bleus should progress past Denmark, Peru and Australia in Group C and make a sustained challenge.
Argentina To Reach The Final @ 4/1 - BET NOW
Argentina only scraped through to the finals in qualifying, but with the mercurial Lionel Messi pulling the strings, and their habit of progressing through major tournaments, they are worth a punt to go all the way to the July 15 final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
In addition to Messi, experienced coach Jorge Sampaoli has an embarrassment of attacking riches with Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala in his squad, while they boast nine players that have won over 50 international appearances and can deal with the pressure of challenging for top honours.
Let's not forget La Albiceleste narrowly lost the 2014 final against Germany and on three past occasions the runners-up of the previous tournament have gone on to reach the Final again four years later.
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