With the 2014 World Cup less than 30 days away, the anticipation and excitement levels continue to grow across the world as the best nations and players are set to take center stage in the most prestigious tournament in football. It is around this time that the national manager from each of the thirty-two participants will name their 23-man squad which includes players that they believe can make the greatest impact and lead their country to glory.
Although football has always been based upon a collective team effort, certain individual players have the ability to change the course of a game on its own and lead their country all the way to glory. This may make the all important difference during Brazil 2014 which is expected to be one of the best tournaments in modern history, with many countries in with a chance of meeting all expectations or surpassing the odds as dark horses. Considering the presence of the world’s best players may alter which country football punters back to win the World Cup, with www.sportsbookreview.com compared the sportbook lines for various bookmakers for every bettor to enjoy throughout the tournament.
Despite losing his official title as the world’s best player, Lionel Messi remains one of the best footballers on the planet. It is amazing to think that the Barcelona star is only 26, such is the wonderful ability he possesses that makes him unique from any other player in the modern game. Despite being relatively short, Messi is deceptively strong enough to hold off challenges, with a quick turn of speed, ultra-quick dribbling and deadly accuracy in front of goal putting him far and beyond any other player in the Argentina squad. The South Americans are heavily fancied at +500 to win the World Cup due to the considerable quality throughout their squad, with their attacking options particularly strong and spearheaded by Messi as the one every Argentinian fans depend on to deliver.
The 2013 Ballon d’Or single-handedly dragged Portugal into the 2014 World Cup through sheer brilliance that made all the difference in their qualifying play-off against Sweden. Cristiano Ronaldo scored all four of Portugal’s goals, with a superb hat-trick in the second leg standing out as arguably the most important goals of his career. The Real Madrid superstar not only remains the most experience player in the history of football, but is now also the highest earning footballer with a multimillion dollar contract putting him ahead of every other player. Portugal may be ranked amongst the World Cup dark horses at +3300, but with Cristiano Ronaldo in their arsenal, anything is possible.
Although the LA Galaxy star has entered the twilight years of his career, Landon Donovan still has the quality in his locker to play at the highest level and play a big part for the USA at the World Cup. Being drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana makes their chances of going far at Brazil 2014 remote, but the World Cup has a habit of throwing up at least one nation who succeeds against all odds to pose a real challenge. Odds of +25000 reflect their realistic chances of going all the way, but the USA can never be faulted for their pride, effort and work-rate which could create a wonderful fairy-tale story.
Liverpool’s surprise title challenge in the Premier League was made possible by the wonderful 31 goals scored by Luis Suarez who enjoyed a fantastic season. Although the Anfield club fell just short of winning the league, Suarez contributed heavily to the 101 goals Liverpool scored as his trickery and telepathic understanding with Daniel Sturridge led to a number of assists. Speculation will once again surround the Uruguayan star as Barcelona and Real Madrid may attempt to lure Suarez from Liverpool, although his first port of call will be to represent his country at the World Cup. They may be no more than +3300 outsiders to be triumphant in Brazil, but Uruguay may benefit from a tournament held in their own continent and take many people by surprise.
The untimely injured suffered to Christian Benteke has promoted 21-year-old prodigy Romelu Lukaku into the limelight as Belgium’s main striker. Comparisons with Didier Drogba are not compliment the young Belgian, but also illustrate his considerable strength, pace and build that makes Lukaku a real handful for any defense. The striker has enjoyed an excellent on loan at Everton from Chelsea, although it remains to be seen whether his parent club will give him a chance next season with a number of teams ready to pounce. While he may not be of the quality of Messi and Ronaldo, Lukaku has a wonderful future ahead of him which could start by firing +2050 underdogs Belgium to glory at this summer’s World Cup.
Although the 2014 World Cup hosts are heavily backed as +300 favorites, it remains to be seen whether Brazil can handle the considerable weight of pressure from an entire nation who expect them to win. Every stadium is expected to be packed with color, samba dancing and a wonderful carnival atmosphere which should make for a memorable World Cup tournament, but it is on the pitch where it all matters. There is great hope that Neymar can carry an impressive first season in Spain with Barcelona onto the international stage where he is expected to shine. Brazil exudes quality throughout their squad and can score goals from every department, but it may fall down to Neymar to shoulder the responsibility to bury the chances that come his way and be the golden boy that wins the World Cup.