Betting: Back Italy to challenge World Cup 2018 favourites Germany & Brazil for crown

Ahead of the crucial qualification fixtures across Europe, our tipster warns that the Azzurri are underestimated in Russia to opponents' peril

Russia will play host to the great and good of the footballing community when the 2018 World Cup gets underway next summer.

The tournament is always keenly anticipated and fans around the globe will be desperate to see their respective nation perform - and perform well - on the sport's biggest stage.

Germany, of course, were crowned as champions in Brazil three years ago and, having made a perfect start to their qualification campaign for next summer's showpiece with five wins from their opening five Group C games, it is no surprise that Die Mannschaft are dabblebet's 5/1 (6.0) favourites to retain their crown.

With a nine-point advantage over their nearest rivals in South American qualifying, Brazil are already assured of a place in Russia and, on the strength of their current form, Tite's team are poised to make a bold bid as they aim for a sixth World Cup triumph.

Brazil have won each of their last nine matches, conceding just twice during that sequence of games and Selecao are available at 6/1 (7.0)  to rewrite history in Russia, for no South American nation has won the World Cup when the competition has been staged on European soil since Pele inspired his nation to victory in 1958.

Piqué France Spain

France and Spain, heavyweights of the European game, can be backed at 7/1 (8.0) and 17/2 (9.50) respectively to win next summer's World Cup. Les Bleus, runners-up on home soil at the European Championships last summer have only ever won the World Cup as hosts, while Spain's solitary World Cup triumph came in 2010, sandwiched between European Championships triumphs in 2008 and 2012 during a golden period for the Spanish side.

Argentina face a ferocious fight to qualify from a fiercely competitive South American qualification section. The Argentines, however, will hope that the recent appointment of Jorge Sampaoli as manager will steady the ship and get the two-time champions firmly back on the road to Russia.

As such, there is  9/1 (10.0) that Argentina, runners up in Brazil in 2014, go one better this time around in what could well be Lionel Messi's final World Cup campaign for his country.

Italy have a proud record in this competition and the 16/1 (17.0) quote for the Azzurri to reign supreme again is perhaps reflective of the fact that Giampiero Ventura's men are drawn alongside Spain in Group G in qualifying for this tournament, with the Italians available at 2/1 (3.0)  to top their group. It would be foolish, though, to dismiss Italy's chances and the 16/1 (17.0) quote on offer for them to seal the title could well offer decent value to punters.

GFX World Cup 2018 winner betting

Belgium have flattered to deceive on the big stage in their last two major tournaments, but the Red Devils can be backed at 16/1 (17.0)  to strike gold in Russia, while England are available at 18/1 (19.0) . The Three Lions have yet to concede a goal in World Cup qualifying, but Southgate's side have so often failed to perform at a major tournaments, last reaching the semi-final stage as hosts in the 1996 European Championships.

Portugal, battling for supremacy with Switzerland in Group B, were crowned as European champions in France last summer and can be backed at 25/1 (26.0)  to do the double by claiming victory on the world stage, while Colombia, in a strong position in South American qualifying, are a 28/1 (29.0) chance to secure the silverware for the first time in their history.

Netherlands, who finished third in World Cup 2014, face an uphill struggle to even make it through to the tournament following a stuttering start to their qualifying campaign. Indeed, the Dutch are currently 12/1 (13.0) with dabblebet to top their qualifying section.

Netherlands will hope that the appointment of Dick Advocaat, back for a third spell as manger, will provide much-needed stability and should the 69-year-old guide his country to Russia, the 33/1 (34.0) quote currently available from dabblebet could well represent good value.

Russia, as host nation, have no such concerns and dabblebet go 33/1 (34.0) that Stanislav Cherchesov's men become the first tournament hosts to win the trophy since France achieved the feat back in 1998.

Italy to win World Cup 2018 at 16/1 (17.0) for a 1pt stake with dabblebet

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