The top 5 favourites to win the World Cup as it stands

With the first round of World Cup matches coming to an end, let’s take a look at the favourites for the tournament now we’ve seen each side in action.

Before the tournament began, Germany were the favourites to win it, and defend their 2014 title. Brazil, Spain, France and Argentina made up the remainder of the top five. After the first round of fixtures, including a few games that defied most of our World Cup predictions, let’s look at whether that’s changed at all.

Here are the current top five teams to win the tournament according to a well-known bookmaker:

5. Belgium (17/2)

Belgium took Argentina’s place in the top five after a strong showing against Panama. Whilst they weren’t up against the toughest opponents, they made relatively light work of their opening game, winning 3-0. Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne looked to have no trouble carrying their good club form to the international stage.

Meanwhile, Argentina had a similarly straight-forward game on paper, against Iceland. However, the 2016 European Championships fan favourites put in another fighting performance, and held their opponents to a 1-1 draw. It didn’t help that Lionel Messi failed to convert a penalty.

4. Germany (8/1)

Germany dropped all the way down to fourth in the rankings after their shock defeat to Mexico in their opening game of the tournament. A number of their big name players were well off the pace in the match, and supporters are starting to ask whether the team really has the motivation to go on and defend their title. Still, they haven’t dropped out of the top-five for the tournament just yet.

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Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer gestures during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between Germany and Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 17, 2018. (Photo by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

3. France (7/1)

France’s chances of winning the competition haven’t changed much after their opening game, with the team neither massively disappointing, nor particularly impressing. They found it much more difficult against Australia than many thought they should have, but Les Blues still managed to grind out a 2-1 victory thanks to a penalty and an own goal.

There are still doubts about whether the country can live up to the hype provided by all the talented players in their ranks, but clearly an uninspiring win is better than Germany’s embarrassing defeat.

2. Spain (9/2)

Spain had a pretty good game against Portugal, and as a result they’re also climbing the rankings, to second place. Although they didn’t win the match, that was largely thanks to an impressive individual performance from Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick.

You can’t legislate for showings like that from one of the best players of all time, but Spain did still manage to score three goals and play some nice football.

1. Brazil (4/1)

Brazil have taken Germany’s place at the top, despite only managing a draw against Switzerland. Even though they didn’t win, they dominated large portions of the match, and other than Spain they were the only team from the top-five to face one of the top rated countries. After all, the Swiss are sixth in the world according to the FIFA rankings.

We’ll see how things change after the next round of fixtures.

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Switzerland’s defender Fabian Schaer (R) pulls the jersey of Brazil’s forward Neymar (L) during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Brazil and Switzerland at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don on June 17, 2018. (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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