thumbnail Hello,

Goal Australia's betting expert Paul Gough brings you the latest odds for the big football jamboree in South America next year, where the hosts are still expected to triumph

With over half of the 32 teams that will contest the 2014 World Cup now having sealed their qualification, Brazil still remains the team to beat on home soil next year.

At least that is the opinion of the bookmakers following the completion of qualifying for the European and South American regions on Tuesday night.

Brazil, as hosts, did not have to qualify and the record five-time World Cup winners recently confirmed their resurgence as a world footballing power by winning the Confederations Cup on home soil.

Their 3-0 rout of reigning world and European champions Spain in the final handed the Spaniards their first loss in 27 matches.

That followed a period in which Spain became the first nation ever to win three successive major tournaments - after adding the Euro 2012 title to their Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup crowns.

Spain was one of nine European nations to formally qualify on Tuesday night by finishing top of their respective group along with Germany, Italy, England, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Russia and Bosnia.

Those nine nations join Brazil and fellow South American heavyweights Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Chile plus CONCACAF teams USA, Costa Rica and Asian teams Australia, Japan, Iran and South Korea in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

The remaining nations to qualify will come from Africa [five], the European play-offs [four] as well as inter-continental play-offs between Jordan and Uruguay and Oceania winners New Zealand against the fourth-placed team - either Honduras or Mexico - from the CONCACAF region.

Brazil are hosting their first World Cup since 1950 - when they lost the final to Uruguay in front of a record crowd of 199,854 at Rio's Maracana Stadium.

But while the re-built Maracana will seat just 79,000 fans for the 2014 final, the bookies believe the crowd will be celebrating a host nation triumph.

Brazil are the $4.33 favourites at bet365 to lift next year's World Cup and based on their Confederations Cup triumph over Spain, combined with home ground advantage, are clearly the team to beat.


Brazil still look the team to beat in next year's World Cup with Argentina the obvious dangers

Belgium and Colombia are the pick of the outsiders to win next year's World Cup at bet365

However Argentina, led by the world's best player Lionel Messi, are shaping as the dangers and are equal second favourites alongside three-time winners Germany at $6.

But no European team has ever won a World Cup staged in South America with the previous four tournaments having been won by host nation Uruguay in 1930, Uruguay again in Brazil in 1950 while Brazil won the 1962 tournament in Chile and Argentina the 1978 World Cup on home soil.

The only other team under double figure odds in current World Cup markets are Spain at $6.50 and they still look the most likely European team to prevail.

The teams that could spring a surprise are Belgium - the most improved team in world football - at $15 and Colombia - currently ranked number five in the world by FIFA - at odds of $29.

Australia are a distant $201 in betting but surprisingly are still ranked above several other nations at bet365 despite their recent 6-0 humiliations at the hands of France and Brazil.

Of the teams to have officially qualified only South Korea ($251), Iran ($751) and Costa Rica ($1001) are ranked below the Socceroos in overall betting on who will win next year's World Cup at bet365.

*Note prices subject to change

Goal Australia now has its own and account, so for all the latest news and features on Australian football follow us by clicking on the above links