Assessing the Favourites for the 2018 FIFA World Cup

The World Cup is fast approaching and football fans from all over the world will be waiting in anticipation, each with their own idea of who will win the game’s greatest prize. But which of the big name favourites has the best chance of winning?

Germany claimed the crown in 2014 but will start as second favourites behind Brazil, the team they beat 7-1 in their own backyard four years ago. So, why have the bookmakers got the South Americans as favourites this time round?

Why Brazil?

Well, first and foremost, Brazilian superstar Neymar has raised his game to another level since 2014. Back then, he had only been playing in Europe for a year and was still adapting to life in Spain. He went on to score 105 goals for the Catalan club and has already netted 28 times in 30 appearances for his new club, Paris Saint-Germain.

In addition to Neymar’s overall improvement, other stars such as Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have also raised their games to new levels. Goalkeepers Alisson and Ederson have been two of the most consistent performers in Europe this year, and there is quality throughout the squad, with players from top teams such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Liverpool. They do appear to have a ready-made dream team at their disposal. They are priced at around 4/1, while Neymar is 10/1 to be top goalscorer. You can find more information about other World Cup betting markets and more tips at www.footballtips.com, where it’s difficult to look past the samba side as winners.

Most likely to challenge them

Germany have an incredible record in international tournaments and, for many, they are the most likely challengers to the South Americans. In fact, they have crept ahead of them in the betting at times. As reigning champions, they have to be considered, but there is a feeling that they are not quite at the level of four years ago. While many of their star players have retired, they still have a roster of World Cup winners and exciting young talent to call upon. Players such as Joshua Kimmich, Timo Werner and Leroy Sane helped them win 100% of their matches in the qualifying campaign.

Germany have an incredible record in international tournaments and, for many, they are the most likely challengers to the South Americans. 

Other contenders

Campeones de Europa de Fútbol 2008” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by cabezadeturco

Of course, there are other teams who could go all the way this summer in Russia. Spain are looking strong again and have excellent strength throughout the squad. They are unbeaten under coach Julen Lopetegui and won nine of their ten qualifying matches, the other ending in a draw in Italy.

France look to have one of the strongest squads on paper. The test will be whether they can translate that strength into results at the highest level. They did reach the finals of Euro 2016 on home soil but were disappointingly beaten by Portugal in the final. Their qualifying featured a defeat to Sweden and draws against Belarus and Luxembourg.

Argentina should not be ruled out. In Jorge Sampaoli, they have an exciting coach at the helm, and they have an excellent group of players to call upon, including Lionel Messi. However, a recent 6-1 friendly defeat to Spain exposed some of their defensive weaknesses as well as their reliance on Messi, who was absent that night.

The Dark Horses

When considering dark horses for the World Cup, Belgium immediately spring to mind. Priced as high as 12/1, the Belgium squad contains players such as Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderwiereld, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku to name just a few. A string of poor performances under previous boss Marc Wilmots dented their reputation somewhat but they have excelled under Roberto Martinez playing some exciting football and scoring a huge amount of goals. They line up in Group G alongside England, Tunisia and Panama and stand a good chance of winning it.

Another team that will be looking to claim their first World Cup title is Portugal. The Euro 2016 winners will be hoping that they can take home the title with their attacking flair and talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo. Should they defy their odds of around 25/1, the debate surrounding the Messi v Ronaldo battle may finally be settled. The World Cup looks to be an exciting tournament, yet again – only time will tell who will get their hands on the world’s most coveted football trophy.

Russia World Cup Tickets (2018)

E-Soccer.com will preview the fast approaching FIFA World cup and give full information on where to buy and sell your tickets. The World Cup in Russia is highly anticipated  by fans from around the world all looking at either attending the games or most certainly watching it on television.

The biggest applications for tickets were surprising from Colombia, Argentina, Germany and Brazil. Whilst most tickets for the games have sold-out officially there will be sure to be more tickets available the closer the tournament becomes. In Brazil, tickets were sold on the day and this gave fans the opportunity to see a game.

Buy World Cup Tickets

Most tickets that do go for resale will be on the official FIFA website.

Prices for the matches in Russia are more expensive than previous tournaments but there are category 4 tickets available to locals. This is a great incentive and gives local fans the opportunity to watch the games. TicketYoda.com also offers comparisons on world cup football tickets here.

With official match tickets there is the opportunity to travel between cities for the games for free, this is available to all match ticket holders.

FAN ID

To gain access to a stadium, not only do you need a ticket you also need a fan id. The fan ID is an identity document that must be allocated from the organizers. For more information then FAN ID is the official website. There is still time to apply and this bypasses the requirement of having to need a visa to enter Russia. Have a passport image ready to upload when making the application, the requirements are no colour background and no open mouth.

Sell World Cup Tickets

To sell world cup tickets for the Russia 2018 tournament then TheTicketBuyers.com are number one in the industry and will buy any you have extra. Contact them via phone, whatsapp or email .

About Russia

Russia a unique, wonderful and diverse country with each host city being completely different.

  • Largest country in the world
  • Longest national border in the world
  • 18 neighbouring countries

Russia has a population of over 146 million people representing which speak over 100 languages. Football is the most popular sport in in Russia and the chance for them to witness and experience the world cup will be enjoyed by millions. To understand how big Russia is, it is spread across 11 time zones. Russians are known for being hospitable people and will be sure to welcome the world to see their amazing country in the summer.

Host Cities

The FIFA World Cup is the greatest sporting event to take place every four years. If you are going then we are certain you will have a great time. If you are not attending then watching on TV will be easy as all countries will be showing it on free to air television.

Fan Fests

A great place to enjoy the games taking place whilst in Russia will be at the Fan Fests held in all the major cities. Moscow will have a big one enough to have 30,000 fans watching the games whilst Saint Petersburg will have a fanzone of 25,000. These are great places to meet fans from around the world and cheer for other countries.

For the latest English Football News then follow E-Soccer.com here.

The FA Cup Semi Finals – Who will prevail

We are fast approaching the FA Cup semi-finals for this season’s trophy and all teams will be looking to make the final. We at E-Soccer.com will look at the teams involved in the final four and review their chances of winning the tournament.

The games at Wembley are both fully sold-out, meaning over 160,000 fans will be at the stadium in 2 days.

Chelsea FC

Chelsea football club have not had the best season in terms of their position in the Premier League and being beaten in the Champions League by FC Barcelona. With this, the FA Cup is their only chance for silverware , like the other 3 teams involved, and the Chelsea fans will be hoping they can win. With players like Moratta, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian, etc, the blues still have the chance of making this season some what of a success. Can they win the FA Cup? First they have to get past Southampton which will be no easy task. Chelsea lost the final against London rivals Arsenal last year and will be eager to win.

Manchester United


Manchester United started the season in amazing fashion and whilst they are still 2nd in the Premier League, city rivals Manchester City dominated and means Jose Mourinho is under pressure to win the trophy. With major signings including Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez, the fans are demanding more, especially how they lost to Seville in the Champions League. Man United are current favourites to win the FA Cup but they have an extremely difficult game against Tottenham in the first semi-final. Paul Pogba is the only doubt for the team having received first aid support whilst playing in France.

Southampton

Southampton FC are the outsiders to win the FA Cup but they have reached the semi-final by beating some good teams, Liverpool FC included. Whilst they are battling for survival in the Premier League, the fans from the south coast will be sure to get behind their team against Chelsea. Premier League winner Mauricio Pellegrino was in charge for the Saints for most of the season but the board recently lost patience and have replaced him with Mark Hughes. Since the Welshman’s arrival the team has turned around their fortunes on the pitch but whether they can beat Chelsea and then win the final (Tottenham v Spurs) is a major task.

Tottenham Hotspur


For Tottenham to win the FA Cup Final, first they will have to beat Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at Wembley. As Tottenham Hotspur have been playing at Wembley as their home stadium whilst White Hart Lane is being refurbished, this can be seen as an advantage for them, however they will only get the same amount of tickets as Manchester United. Tottenham Hotspur have not won a major trophy for many years and after their loss to Juventus in the Champions League the fans will be desperate to win the cup. With Harry Kane in fantastic goal-scoring form Spurs have a great chance this year. Remember to follow us and bookmark our dedicated English football news page.

5 Top Premier League Football Managers Who Could Leave This Summer

There seems to be a high turnover of managers in the Premier League these days, especially now with club owners expecting more and more from their managers every year. Of course, it’s not just managers that get sacked, it’s also managers that leave their post because they don’t get on with the club owners or simply because they’ve been offered a better opportunity elsewhere. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular managers in the Premier League and their possible reasons for leaving in the summer.

1.      Arsene Wenger

Arsenal club owners seem to be happy with the management from Arsene Wenger for one reason: because he makes them money. From a business point of view there aren’t many better managers around. However, fans are certainly growing tired of having the Frenchman in the dugout for the right footballing reasons. Arsene Wenger seems to have been bringing Arsenal down in recent years, and most of the fans want him gone this summer. Will the club owners give the fans what they want? Or will they continue to partner with the man that has served the club for more than 20 years? You can sign up to Toals and have a bet on who could be Arsenal’s next manager for the 2018/2019 season.

Arsenal fans are certainly growing tired of having the Frenchman in the dugout.

2.      Mauricio Pochettino

There’s been much speculation over Mauricio’s future in recent weeks. There was a point when many Manchester United fans thought he was coming to Old Trafford, as he was spotted leaving a restaurant with Sir Alex Ferguson. However, recent rumours suggest he could be off to Real Madrid should Zidane not get offered a new deal by the club. Either way, Mauricio is possibly one of Europe’s best managers for what he’s done at Tottenham, so he certainly won’t be short of job opportunities should he decide to leave in the summer. If Pochettino doesn’t get the financial backing for new transfers or the club owners decide to sell Harry Kane, he will almost certainly be on his way.

If Pochettino doesn’t get the financial backing for new transfers or the club owners decide to sell Harry Kane, he will almost certainly be on his way.

3.      Antonio Conte

Conte has had a mixed season with Conte after winning the Premier League last year in his first season in charge. Chelsea didn’t start too brightly and they’re looking a bit inconsistent in front of the net in recent months. Is it Conte that’s the main problem or could it be the fact Chelsea players aren’t enjoying their time playing with each other this year? Either way, Conte has had a tough time with multiple players (Diego Costa was one of them before he left for Madrid) and he’s already stated in the media he could leave at any point.

4.      Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is still contracted to Manchester United for another year, but if a new job opportunity comes along, he may well consider it. He’s done okay with Manchester United in the season he won 3 trophies last year, but they still look very short of being able to compete with Manchester City and European giants such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. He’s already spent enough money on new players, so where’s it going wrong? You could also say that he’s been a bit unlucky this year because if it wasn’t for Manchester City beating everyone, United would be in top spot. There’s talk of PSG owners looking to do everything they can to bring him to France in the summer.

5.      Pep Guardiola

If Pep did leave Manchester City in the summer, it would be very surprising. However, there are rumours multiple Chinese clubs are interested in bringing him far East, and there’s even talk that he could return to the Barcelona dugout. One of the more likely things to happen is that PSG go after him with an offer he can’t refuse. Manchester City are flying at the moment so for Pep to leave would be a real shame, but football will always be football.

The above managers are some of the best managers in world football, but if they don’t get financially backed in the transfer market, or their teams perform horribly over the next few months, they could well be some of the next managers to work abroad again next year.

Will Koeman Revive Netherlands?

Well, that’s the biggest question in the world today; and Koeman certainly has the biggest job in the universe. Will Koeman revive the Netherlands and resuscitate the Netherland national team from its doldrums? We would just never know until the team faces England this Friday and performs magic. Koeman is not new to the game of football though. He became a legend from the 1988 Euros cup. That means he is not green when he comes to football. However, there could be a clear difference between being good on the field and celebrated on the as a genius player and deploying management tactics to training players for optimum performance. Not many star players will well transcend to being a coach. A handful had done it before, but that does not happen every day. Koeman has once being quoted as being “crazy about football” since he left Everton. However, being “crazy about football” and training players well are two different things. That is why the questions on everybody’s mind have been: can he do it? Will he be able to give the Netherlands a new face? Will he save the team and give them a sterling position they have never attained?

A History of Loses

The Netherland national team has a long history of loses. Also, there have been a string of coaches attempt to revive them and help them save face. Louis van Gaal tried with them and just when everybody thought the team might be on to something great, they to the 2014 World Cup and performed not really up to expectation as they finished third place. In retrospect, one would see that the 2014 World Cup outing has been their best so far in a long time. Following after Louis van Gaal left the team, Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind, and Dick Advocaat have all tried reviving the team all to no avail. Hiddink never stayed long as he left immediately he saw efforts on the team were not going as planned during the Euro 2016 qualification. Blind joined the team after and never stayed long too, but not without giving the team a lit bit facelift. When Advocaat joined them, he too left when the same situation that discouraged Hiddink also reared its ugly head following the campaign for the upcoming World Cup. If you do not know where best to bet in support of your favourite teams in the coming Russia 2018, check Betenemy for the hottest bookmakers’ reviews.

A Shadow of its Best Self

The Netherland team has always been facing one shame after another that it is very difficult not to pity their predicament. Their recent meetings Iceland gave them two whopping loses months barely after they came back from the tournament in Brazil. The Netherland is surely a shadow of its best self. A team that was ranked high in 2014 now ranked so low at 21st on the current FIFA ranking. With the odds in favour of Koeman, Efbet, the first licensed bookmarker in Bulgaria is the best place to show your undoubted support for Koeman and his team.

Hope

One of Koeman’s biggest mission now will be to take the team to Euro 2020. Amidst the many things that could dampen Koeman right now, there is still some silver lining. There are Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Lazio’s Stefan de Vrij at center-back. Also, there are bigger prospects with Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake and Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt.

 

Has VAR Worked Across The World?

This technology has been at the front burner of football game across the world in recent times. Before we go into its many issues it has raised and its many successes, it is good one knows what VAR means and how it works. So, what is VAR? VAR is an acronym which stands for Video Assistant Referees. It is used to make informed decisions about football games. As the name suggests, it is an assistant to referees on the pitch. VAR is expected to enable referees to make very informed decisions. That is the significance of VAR. Honestly, no matter how efficient, agile and observant a human referee is, some details may still slip by him. That’s just the human nature. That is acceptable and very much understandable. However, in the game of football where so much is expected of the officiating involved, that human inadequacy cannot be overlooked. That is why VAR is there to make referees overcome their seemingly human inadequacy and sound decisions especially when it comes to situations about awarding penalties, determining off-sides, booking players and making some very serious decisions that could mar a match if facts are not well followed. That is the main reason for VAR in the first place.

However, there has been a recent question to assess the recent performance of VAR as a trusted technology to make decisions better and how it may in some way be negatively affecting matches. Hence, the question is if it has worked across the world. However in the midst of the gruesome worries about VAR, Efirbet collects the finest review of the most popular bookmarkers in the UK.

Success and Setbacks

The recent setback that befell the VAR system came after Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, a person who had been a staunch supporter of the VAR system became unmotivated with the way it ruled against a match unjustly. That followed after the Brazilian, Willian, was not awarded a penalty even why it was so glaring he had fouled against Norwich. Well, that may just be a little setback that all great things must suffer sometime so that they could be improvedupon. In showing its recent successes since January, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) published a study that shows how beneficial it’s been in over 1,000 matches. In this study, there seems to be hope for the VAR technology in football. The bet365 mobile app houses the most popular and successful sport betting application, where your winnings would have to depend on VAR, or not.

Not Too Much Time

In looking at over 900 matches played across over 20 national matches, the study also partly shows how fans have been a little bit worried over how VAR may be interfering with the flow of matches. That was especially noticeable in the match involving Tottenham and Rochdale during February – and fans were visibly not happy with it. Another concern also is the time VAR uses for its review. People are of the opinion that it may eat more time of matches. However, there are recent reviews to counter the fact that VAR eats out time. VAR takes the average of 20 seconds to arrive at a decision. This minute period may not even be noticeable. It could happen between the times the referee would take to checking where an event happens to book a player. One can somewhat say, VAR may have worked so far.

Manchester City’s Winning Streak Broken at the Etihad Stadium

For an incredibly competitive and dynamic sport such as football, building up any kind of streak is nothing short of incredible. That was the case for Manchester City, as they kept an unbroken streak on their home turf at the Etihad Stadium. To put things into perspective, the last time they lost in their home stadium was all the way back on December third of 2016. Since then they have gone on to win a grand total of 29 games, while also achieving seven draws. With such an incredible streak, the pressure was on for Manchester City to dominate Basel, and it seemed that way early on.

A sudden turn of events

Manchester City looked to be playing at peak performance, taking the lead after only eight minutes of play against Basel. It was at this time when the stadium-goers probably thought that the match would end in favour of the Citizens, just another win or perhaps even a draw in the belt with the streak remaining unbroken. In a turn of events that seemed like something one would expect from The 2018 Grand National – where most bettors learn to expect the unexpected – the playing field was suddenly levelled just 10 minutes after the first goal was scored. It just goes to show that when it comes to sports, it can be very difficult to predict the outcome of any match no matter how unlikely.

Taking the match

After the goal was scored by Basel courtesy of Mohamed Elyounoussi, it was an intense stalemate until the second half of the game. At this point, where any goal scored would have meant victory for either team, Michael Lang was able to close the show by scoring a goal against Manchester City, and though they tried they weren’t able to recover. This led to quite the memorable win for Basel, and a shocking loss for Manchester City.

The end result

While this still leaves Manchester City with a healthy 5-2 record and aggregate win, the fact that they had lost after going through dozens of games in their home stadium without a single loss can’t be underestimated.  Losing is one thing but losing in front of their fans in their home stadium – fans who have grown accustomed to victory after victory, is another story entirely.

Nevertheless, while this marks the end of a fantastic streak for Manchester City, that’s exactly what it was and always will be – a fantastic streak that will no doubt stand the test of time. While they certainly must be beating themselves up over the result, it’s still an incredible feat and one that every single player involved deserves to be proud of. The fact that such a shocking turn of events could happen just goes to show how dynamic the sport of football truly is.

Match Preview: Manchester City vs Chelsea

chelsea

Manchester City will host current Premier League Champions Chelsea at home in Manchester this weekend in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will return to action having won the EFL Cup in their last match, winning comfortably 3-0 against Arsenal. With goals from club veterans Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Company, the team brushed aside the North London team. Such a dominant performance means that ‘the Citizens’ are the number 1 team in English football.

winners

Return to Winning Ways

Chelsea however will be looking to get back to winning ways having lost their previous match against Manchester United 2-1 having led the game 1-0. For the first half of the game, Chelsea dominated possession and the attacking play, even hitting the woodwork only for Manchester United to come back stronger and win with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard respectively.

Whilst Manchester City look like winning the league having created such a dominant season and being more than 10 points clear for the past several months, this match will still be important for both clubs. Pep Guardiola will want to win the league as soon as possible and therefore will want to get the three points. The team will also want to stamp their authority as the best in the league by beating the top teams. For Premier League betting then 888 sport have the best online platform.

Chelsea, on the other hand are fighting for a Champions League position with Liverpool and Tottenham also in the close running. With this Antonio Conte will want his team to perform and win to move close to finishing in the top 4.

Chelsea have a harder task in the Champions League having to go to the Nou Camp and beat Chelsea having conceded thew away goal at Stamford Bridge.

Team News

A big boost for Manchester City is the imminent return of  Raheem Sterling, who arguably has been their most improved player, scoring 20 goals and in the running with Mo Salah (Liverpool) for the golden boot.

With both teams still in the Champions League (Chelsea v Barcelona, Manchester City v Basel) a couple of key players could be rested but with the game being important this will be a minimal change from the best eleven.

In other Chelsea news,  Antonio Conte is being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge to manage the Italian national team, reports the Guardian.

For up to date Manchester City news, team news and transfers then see here.

Premier League Top Goal scorer Odds: The bookies’ forecast since August

lukaku-kane

Every time a new season is about to kick-off, a mass of football fans tip certain teams to win the Premier League and even get behind specific sides who could find themselves relegated to the Championship. Another bet which people readily back in the enticing outright markets is for who’ll result the campaign with the hotly-contested Golden Boot.

One avid follower of the Premier League is Footy Accumulators, a site that make efforts to provide tips and recommended bets surrounding England’s top tier on a weekly basis, helped even more by it being backed up through statistics and sensible reasoning.

Non-movers in the Market

The key factor that’s clearly ranked the highest in the bookmakers’ estimations is who’s currently most likely to score the most Premier League goals, as opposed to who they originally backed before the season kicked off.

Things are looking extremely positive in that vein, as they saw Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane as the most likely man to take that desired Golden Boot, mostly due to the fact that he’s finished as top scorer in the last three seasons and continues to grow every year. He was originally given odds of 3/1 before the term kicked off but now sits at an even weaker 4/7 through reaching twenty-three league goals.

It’s strange to give credit to a bookmaker for correctly ranking a player with the third most likely chance of scooping the Golden Boot, but that’s exactly what they’ve done with Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, who was previously given the third weakest odds of 7/1, only to remain there with odds of 7/2 through netting more times than teammate Raheem Sterling but less than Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

Of all the footballers who were priced up prior to the season kicking off, we worry for anyone who saw Diego Costa at 16/1 as a good price, as he was clearly on the way out of Stamford Bridge, seen as a bit too much trouble by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, and linked with a return to former club Atletico Madrid almost immediately.

Major shocks

The most exciting success story has been Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who was previously seen as a flop when playing a short tenure at Chelsea but has turned his career around at Roma, before absolutely storming his second attempt at success in England. Most bookmakers didn’t even price him up before the campaign started but those who did, offered odds of 66/1 for the Egypt international to top the scorers’ chart, which he has done in plenty of periods, now second for his tally of twenty-two Premier League goals, with his odds massively dropped to 3/1.

salah

It would be wrong not to mention the devastatingly poor drop in form seen by Romelu Lukaku, who moved from Merseyside to Manchester in order to sign for Jose Mourinho, and Alvaro Morata, who was Antonio Conte’s most celebrated Chelsea signing since winning the title last season. Everyone expected them both to be two of the division’s most threatening forwards but that’s been far from the case, with Romelu Lukaku’s 7/2 odds being far from reflected in current odds of 150/1, and anyone who chose to tip Alvaro Morata to win the boot with former odds of 9/1 surely pulling their hair out through his now shocking price of 1000/1 with most bookmakers.

Making a Case for Belgium at the World Cup

It is a curious thing that fans, pundits and bookmakers cannot agree on an outright favourite for the World Cup. Normally there is one candidate, for example Spain in 2010 or Argentina in 2014, who seem to demand all the attention in the run up to the tournament. They may not always win, but they drive the narrative before and, sometimes, during the tournament.

That does not seem to be the case this year, even though we are mere months away from the tournament kicking off in Moscow on 14th June. A lack of a standout candidate does not mean there is a lack of quality however, because, in fact, the opposite is true this year. Perhaps seven or eight teams are regarded as having a serious chance of winning.

The current betting odds for the favourites look like this:

Team Odds
Germany 9/2
Brazil 5/1
France 11/2
Spain 7/1
Argentina 8/1
Belgium 12/1
England 16/1

The above odds are supplied by William Hill and is pretty much representative of all major bookmakers at the moment. However, you can follow the link to get the latest William Hill UK betting offers for football and other sports to get even more value for your bets.

Belgium’s Golden Generation Ready to Shine

For many punters, the most eye-catching name on the list above will undoubtedly be Belgium. Why is a team, so packed with talent, available at odds of double figures to win the World Cup? Yes, Belgium have rarely succeeded in going deep in a tournament (their best finish was 4th in 1986), but they have arguably assembled one of the best squads in world football. Is 12/1 really a reflection of their chances? Should they be behind an Argentina side that limped through qualifying?

Indeed, one of the most important factors for any team going into any major tournament is to have top players in form. Can any of the teams priced lower than Belgium boast three players playing at the very top of their game like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens? De Bruyne, in particular, seems to be having the season of a lifetime, demonstrating week after week that he is arguably Europe’s most complete midfielder.

kdb-belgium

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Experience Key to Success in Major Tournaments

Another thing to note is that this Belgium squad is packed full of experience players, many having come through the ranks of youth football together. Courtois, Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Vertonghen and Alderweireld make up the backbone of the team: All have over 50 caps, and only Vertonghen is over 28-years-old.

To give this all a bit of balance, there are some reasons to doubt Belgium’s credentials. For example, many Everton fans would testify that their former manager, and current Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez has difficulty with defensive organisation. Conceding three goals in games recently to Mexico, Bosnia and Russia, has only served to fuel these doubts.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Still, in saying that, Belgium are unbeaten since September 2016 (a 2-0 friendly loss to Spain) and there seems to be a wonderful camaraderie and spirit surrounding the squad. Overall, you may argue that France and Spain have the deeper talent pools, whereas Germany and Brazil have the most cohesive style of play. However, it is perhaps Belgium that has the most balance in both of those factors. For that reason, that price of 12/1 seems like a bargain.

 

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