With less than three months to go before the start of the World Cup, the 32 sides heading to Russia are making their final preparations for the tournament.
Defending champions Germany are currently the favourites to lift the trophy once more and if Joachim Low's men triumph they will draw level with Brazil as the most successful side in the history of the competition.
dabblebet offer the Germans at 9/2 (5.50) and while it is something of a footballing cliche to suggest that Germany always produce at major tournaments, their recent record backs up that theory. Die Mannschaft have reached at least the semi finals in each of the last four World Cups and few will forget their 7-1 defeat of Brazil in the last four of the previous tournament.
La Canarinha are just behind Germany in the betting at 5/1 (6.00) and the five times world champions look a completely different side to the one that suffered that semi final humiliation. Under manager Tite they won the CONMEBOL qualifcation tournament with ease and are now extremely tough to beat. France come next in the betting at 6/1 (7.00) with Spain at 15/2 (8.50), Argentina at 8/1 (9.00) and England at 16/1 (17.00).
Messi's time to shine and Lopetegui's chance
Aged 30 and in his footballing prime, this is perhaps the tournament where Lionel Messi will feel he must lead Argentina to glory. The problem for the Barcelona forward is that his team-mates have stunningly underperformed and only just scraped a spot in Russia on the final day of qualifying. Spain meanwhile look a strong candidate to reclaim the crown they won in 2010, with manager Julen Lopetegui blending youth and experience to form an impressive side.
Tips and predictions
Of the favourites in the outright market, it is quite possible that Spain offer the best value with La Roja boasting tremendous strength in depth. France too boast an exceptional squad, yet Spain have a more focused group with a core of players who know what it takes to win a World Cup. As a value bet, Uruguay appeal for an each way selection at 25/1 (26.00). La Celeste have an extremely winnable group which should ensure them a favourable last 16 tie and from there, the semi-finalists from 2010 could cause a surprise.