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With favourites Ivory Coast seemingly underpriced considering their tricky group opposition, Al Hain-Cole sees better value in backing the African champions to prove their quality

While Pele’s famous prediction of an African team winning the World Cup by the year 2000 never came to pass, there will be five nations in Brazil hoping to do their continent proud this summer.

Having outdone all of their continental neighbours to reach the quarter-finals four years ago, Ghana will be looking to build on that performance this time out.

However, a tough draw will see them come up against Germany, Portugal and the USA in Group G, hence William Hill’s relatively long 5/2 (3.50) odds on them emerging as top African team for the third tournament in a row.

Instead, Cote d'Ivoire currently lead the betting at 11/8 (2.38) after being handed a rather easier-looking group draw alongside Japan, Colombia and Greece.

However, that price seems to rather underestimate the quality of those opponents, with all three likely to provide stiff opposition in a tight group that could easily see the Elephants fall at the first hurdle for their third consecutive tournament.

On the other hand, reigning African champions Nigeria appear better value at 3/1 (4.00) after being drawn against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Argentina, in a group where the race for second place should provide the greatest intrigue.

While they may not boast the same star names as some of their continental neighbours, the Super Eagles have repeatedly proven themselves to be greater than the sum of their parts under Stephen Keshi, and are more than capable of snatching second place before giving likely last 16 opponents France a good run for their money.

Meanwhile, Cameroon look up against it to make it past the first round considering Brazil, Croatia and Mexico stand in their way, with the Indomitable Lions’ unimpressive recent form making them 8/1 (9.00) outsiders to outperform their fellow Africans.

Similarly, Algeria face a tall order to progress after being placed alongside Belgium, Russia and South Korea, meaning 12/1 (13.00) odds are probably best avoided as they seek to escape the group stages for the first time in their history.

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Nigeria to finish as top African team for a 1pt stake at 3/1 (4.00) with William Hill

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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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