Confidence in European World Cup victor could be misplaced
For while European countries account for 13 of the 32 competing teams, in comparison to just five from South America, the fact remains that a side from Europe has never won the World Cup outside their home continent.
Indeed, the World Cup nearly always follows the pattern that Europeans (specifically Italy, Germany, England and France) win inside Europe and South Americans (namely Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay) win everywhere else.
Only once has this record been broken – in 1958 when a Pele-inspired Brazil reigned victorious in Sweden after defeating the hosts 5-2 in the final.
Ever since the Brazilians successfully defended their world crown in 1962, the title has oscillated between Europe and South America in correlation with the location of each tournament.
Take the last four as an example: Italy won in Germany, Brazil in South Korea/Japan, France on home turf, and Brazil in the USA.
Even in a year when the tournament will take place amid the more European climate of South African winter it makes sense to back the South Americans.
Spain are 4/1 favourites but Brazil, at 9/2, and Argentina, at 6/1, are not far behind in second and third place. Despite an avalanche of Europeans coming next, not least England at 7/1, it is the apex of the market mountain that deserves to be given most credence.
Spain have never won the World Cup before while Brazil and Argentina have experienced the delights of such a victory seven times between them. Both are managed by World Cup-winning captains who doubtlessly have the experience required to inspire their teams.
It would be a wise move to back on that number becoming eight after all the medals have been handed out.
Can this finally be the year that Pele’s African dream is realised? It’s 12/1 for Africa to provide the winner in the continent’s maiden tournament.