Editorial – When it comes to soccer, there is not really the rivalry between continents that one might see in sports like golf. The most frequent reference to the idea of representing a continent is in relation to winning outside of it, with Germany becoming the first European team to win the World Cup in South America in 2014.
Can European Nation’s World Cup Dominance Continue?
That win for Germany made in three World Cup in succession for European nations, coming after Spain 2010 and Italy 2006. It is the longest period of dominance for any continent since the World Cup began in 1930. Moreover, the rest of the world has only provided one finalist in that time (Argentina in 2014). It begs the question – are the CONMEBOL nations and others falling behind?
Brazil and Germany divide the opinion off odds-setters
The short answer to that is, of course not. Brazil is a co-favorite with Germany at odds of around 5/1 with the majority of major sportsbooks, with most impartial pundits believing that coach Tite has improved his side dramatically over the past four years. Certainly, he has built a side that looks less likely to succumb to the sort of embarrassing 7-1 defeat against Germany this time around.
But when we look at the other likely contenders, it does seem to be stacked with European teams. After Brazil and Germany, you have Spain (6/1), France (6/1), Belgium (11/1), England (16/1), Portugal (25/1). Only Argentina (9/1), who were walloped 6-1 by Spain recently, upset the procession of European nations following Brazil and Germany in the betting.
Germany, Spain, and France pulling from deep well of talent
Obviously, one can say it was ever thus, and that European teams have always been dominant in the Finals. However, you could argue that the likes of Spain, France, and Germany are bringing extraordinarily strong squads to Russia, whereas the same cannot be said for Brazil and Argentina. Indeed, even the outside favorites like Belgium are bringing a historically strong squad to the finals.
In a way, it is summed up by the betting market (Bet365) for the ‘winning continent’ at the World Cup: 4/11 Europe, 2/1 South America and 33/1 for R.O.W. That’s a very short price for a European team to win the World Cup in Russia, so your money might be better spent elsewhere. There are, of course, going to be ends to the betting markets for the Finals. As for promotions, you can check this guide to the latest World Cup free bets and betting offers.
European dominance is a point of reference, but an important one
Does it really matter if another European team wins the World Cup? Well, it’s not as if Argentina fans will be rejoicing if Brazil wins the World Cup over Germany.But the odds do tell us something about how the balance of power in football is still tipped in Europe’s favor. Although, it really would be nice to see a few teams outside of South America and Europe progress further this time around.
One could perhaps see a couple of the five African teams – Nigeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco or Egypt – make an impact of Russia. Indeed, each member of that quintet brings a strong, yet highly underrated, squad to the World Cup. Might the likes of Japan or Iran make an impact among the Asian sides? It remains to be seen, but all the signs are sill – whether it matters or not – pointing to another World Cup dominated by European sides.