With 32 of the 64 World Cup games now played, Jim Knight looks at the outright winner odds, where the South American hosts still head the market ahead of Germany and Argentina
With exactly half of the matches gone it is still Brazil who head the market as their steady, if unspectacular, progress through their home World Cup still sees them at 100/30 (4.33) with the bookmakers.
One of the big movers have been Germany (now 7/2) who have seen their price halved after a couple of impressive attacking displays, although Ghana demonstrated that Joachim Low's side can be exposed at the back.
Argentina had to work hard to beat Iran 1-0 courtesy of a late Lionel Messi strike and, at 4/1 (5.0), plenty of punters will want to see a more convincing performance from the pre-tournament second favourites before believing that they can progress to the later stages although Messi's ability to drag his team through matches is an ominous sign.
France have been very popular in the betting and Les Bleus, now a 15/2 (8.50) shot, have been dominant in their two opening group games, leaving 28/1 (29.0) antepost backers hopeful that Didier Deschamps's men can be genuine title contenders.
Chile (18/1) and Netherlands (10/1) have both impressed with their attacking, free-flowing football while Belgium have actually drifted out a litte to 20/1 (21.0) despite claiming six points from their opening two matches.
Colombia (25/1) and Costa Rica (70/1) have both secured their places in the knockout rounds with a game to spare while Italy (33/1) and Uruguay (50/1) look set to battle it out to join them in a winner-takes-all clash on Tuesday afternoon.
With some of the more fancied teams failing to justify their short prices with some unconvincing performances there could be plenty more shocks along the way as we enter the second half of what has already been a fantastic tournament.
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