With the World Cup fast approaching, Hugh Wilson looks at which European team will go the furthest in Brazil and he feels Didier Dechamps' men certainly offer some value
Germany, Spain, Belgium, France and Italy will all fancy their chances of making waves in the tournament and upsetting the two South American sides in Brazil.
Germany are third favourites for the tournament, and favourites for the best European team, with Paddy Power pricing them at 23/10 (3.30). Joachim Low's side have been drawn alongside Portugal, Ghana and USA in Group G, which is one of the tougher groups in the competition.
However, with an outstanding squad and qualifying record which saw nine wins from 10 matches, they are strong favourites to qualify top of Group G at 4/7 (1.57).
If they do so, then they are likely to meet either Russia or South Korea, who shouldn't prove too much of an obstacle for the Germans. Their possible quarter-final against France however, could been a real test for Low's men.
The current World and European Champions Spain are next after Germany for top European side at 10/3 (4.33) with Paddy Power. They, like Germany, also have a tough group, being drawn in Group B alongside Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Vicente del Bosque's side could face either Brazil or Croatia in the second round, with Italy or England their likely opponents if they were to reach the quarter-finals.
France are the third favourites in this market, with Paddy Power pricing them at 7/1 (8.00). This seems to be a price which offers value when you consider les Bleus' group, which consists of Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.
Didier Dechamps' side will be delighted with the draw, especially after qualifying for the tournament by the skin of their teeth.
The French side played well in their World Cup qualifying group stages, racking up 17 points from their eight matches, but were in the same group as Spain, who won one more game to make it through to Brazil automatically. With a tough play-off tie against Ukraine out of the way, Deschamps' men will fancy their chances of going deep in the tournament.
With a match against either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Nigeria in the second round, the quarter-finals looks like a must for the French, with Germany then standing in their way for a place in the semi-finals.
Belgium 15/2 (8.50), Italy 9/1 (10.00) and Netherlands 11/1 (12.00) are seen as the next best in this market, with them all being too tough to back with their potential second round draws. Marc Wilmots has a very exciting young side, but could face Portugal in the second phase, which would be a tough game to call.
With Italy missing some key men for the tournament and facing both England and Uruguay in the group stages, they could well miss out overall. As for the Netherlands, if they qualify second in their group behind Spain, Brazil should be waiting for them in the second phase.
Looking at the market, France seem to have a relatively simple task of reaching the quarter-finals before their potential clash with Germany, who in turn will have a number of tests if they are to reach that stage of the competition. With this in mind, the 7/1 (8.00) price of France being the best European side is certainly worth a small investment with Paddy Power.
|France to be the top European team at 7/1 (8.00) 1.5pt stake with Paddy Power|
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