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Backing teams years before a tournament starts often secures a favourable price and Phil Kitromilides argues there is value in backing Vicente Del Bosque's side right now

Having sealed their place among the pantheon of international greats by claiming an historic victory at Euro 2012, Spain are once again among the favourites in the early betting for the World Cup in 2014.

Bet365 price Vicente Del Bosque's side as second favourites at 9/2 (5.50) to retain their world title and while age may have caught up with a couple of the current Roja side, the likes of Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba will arguably be hitting their peak, making an unprecedented fourth consecutive major title a distinct possibility.

WORLD CUP 2014 - WINNER

ODDS COURTESY OF BET365
Brazil 7/2
Spain 9/2
Argentina 5/1
 Germany 7/1
Netherlands 16/1
 Italy 16/1
England 18/1
This price will only get smaller once Spain have qualified and there could be real merit in taking an early punt.

The only team above them in the betting are Brazil at 7/2 (4.50). The expectation levels will be sky high for the hosts, but it's a factor that could well work against them.

While undoubtedly talented, this current crop of Brazilian players is not a vintage group and the enormous pressure on them to produce on home soil will ask considerable questions of them.

Having once again failed to capitalise on great promise shown at a major tournament, Germany are priced at 7/1 (8.00).

Semi-finalists at Euro 2012, and at the last World Cup, Joachim Low's talented side should, in 2014, be reaching the zenith of their ability and could prove to be a shrewd investment, certainly for an each-way bet.

They are priced just behind Argentina at 5/1 (6.00), for whom playing on South American soil may prove to be an advantage.

Next in the betting come Italy and Netherlands, both at 16/1 (17.00), two sides who enjoyed contrasting fortunes at Euro 2012.

The Italians showed unity, skill and desire in surpassing expectations and reaching the European Championship final.

The Oranje, meanwhile, also surpassed expectations, but only in their ability to self destruct, with their disjointed, insipid performances leading to an early exit from the group stage.

Yet, such a disappointment can be a catalyst for positive changes - Italy being a prime example, having endured a shocking World Cup in 2010. The Dutch talent pool remains undiminished and if they can find some coherency in defence, they could once again prove a threat.

England are refreshingly priced at a realistic 18/1 (19.00), which looks to be a fairly accurate reflection of the Three Lions' chances, although an argument could be made that Roy Hodgson's men should be priced slightly higher than Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal, who are at 25/1 (26.00) or the team currently ranked second in the world, Copa America champions Uruguay, priced at 22/1 (23.00).


World
Cup
2014
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Spain to win at 9/2 (5.50) with Bet365
Germany each way at 7/1 (8.00) with Bet365

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid, you can also follow Phil on Twitter 

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