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World Cup 2018

Steve Shoup

Key favourites following the first round of fixtures


The 2018 World Cup in Russia has kicked off in style with some stunning individual performances and none more so than from Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. A breath taking hat trick that included a late winning free kick enabled his side to take a point away following a hard fought fixture with many people’s favourites in Spain. The hosts have also got off to a perfect start with two victories to their name, which all but seals their progress to the knock out stages. This can be seen as a massive achievement for Russia in which the bet365 bookmaker now make them just 40/1 to go all the way and lift the trophy. This would be similar to that of the victory of Greece back at Euro 2004 so it can be done. So who look to be the most likely to go all the way?




The pre tournament favourites got off to a stuttering start against an incredibly well drilled Switzerland side but created a lot of chances and were possibly unlucky to just go away with a point. There was a huge amount of positives to take from the performance and none more so than the current contender for goal of the tournament from Barcelona’s Coutinho. Switzerland are also a side that concede very little goals so the first game was always going to be a trappy affair. There is no doubt that if they can continue to build in to the tournament then they are going to challenge to the latter stages of the tournament and even possibly extend on there five victories in the history of the world cup further cementing themselves as the most successful side in the competition.




France would have to certainly go down as very lucky winners of their opening fixture against Australia with VAR making a big impact in the game and on the tournament so far on a whole. What was good to see however is that they got the job done without playing anywhere near there best. The squad is possibly the strongest of all the sides in the competition when you look through with the likes of attacking talents in Griezmann and Mbappe. Bet365 now make them 7/1 to lift the trophy which looks a big price as they are renowned for growing into tournaments. If they can bring similar form to that of Euro 2016 then they have a huge chance of contesting the latter stages of the tournament. The side still does have two difficult fixtures against two solid teams in Peru and Denmark so will need to be on the ball in order to cement a place through the group stage.




The final side to make the select list are Belgium who are rather an enigma. They have a jaw dropping squad when you go through the names with several world class players in Hazard and De Bruyne so should almost certainly have done better than they have in the past. They have entered the tournament in brilliant form that included a near perfect qualification. They started off the tournament against lowly Panama and took a while to find full stride. Once they got the first goal they really were a joy to watch with Lukaku looking a major threat. English fans will certainly know the dangers he possesses with there end of the group clash likely to seal who goes through as group winners. There is no doubt that Belgium on there day are one of the top sides in world football so must be one of the current favourites to lift the trophy with there odds currently at 17/2.



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