When it comes to the World Cup, predicting the finalists before a ball has been kicked can be a tricky affair, however in 2014 it would appear that everything is in place for a grudge match of epic proportions between hosts Brazil and old enemy Argentina.
The Selecao have been drawn in Group A alongside Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon while La Albiceleste are on the other side of the draw in Group F with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria.
As such, provided both teams finish top of their respective groups, then the earliest point at which the sides will meet will be the final in Rio De Janeiro on July 13th, with Ladbrokes offering 8/1 on such a permutation.
For Argentina, group progression should be a relatively straightforward affair with Nigeria and Iran unlikely to cause much in the way of problems for the Lionel Messi-led team, who cruised to qualification in the South American section with 10 goals from the Barca man.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, meanwhile, were brushed aside 2-0 in a recent friendly with Golden Boot contender Sergio Aguero notching up a brace.
Top the group and Argentina will most likely face a second round game with Switzerland, a European nation that last reached a World Cup quarter final in 1954.
Their first real test could come at the quarter final stage, with the South Americans on course to meet one of either Belgium or Portugal with the likes of either Spain or Italy awaiting them in the semis.
On paper these ties may look daunting but given the success Argentina enjoyed on their own continent in qualifying, and the climate many European teams unaccustomed to such conditions will face this summer, progress could be achieved.
Brazil, meanwhile, are expected to finish ahead of a Croatia side that just squeezed through qualification while Mexico and Cameroon rarely impressed in their respective qualification campaigns and should not prove too much of a problem.
From there a second round game against Holland could prove tricky but with home support behind them and the Dutch still fragile after the Euro 2012 debacle, progress could still be achieved.
Much will depend on the form of Neymar though, with the Brazilian among the favourites to be named top scorer at the tournament after impressing at the Confederations Cup.
Get through and a potential tie with England or Colombia awaits – two sides that Brazil have favourable records against – before a semi-final showdown with Germany, a team that has gone out of three of its last four major tournaments at this specific stage.
It may seem a long shot at this stage but as the World Cup continues, you may wish you had backed a showdown between South America’s two most successful sides.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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