Roy Hodgson saw his Three Lions team lose consecutive Wembley friendly matches against Chile and Germany recently, with the England manager having one final friendly next spring to judge those players on the fringe of the squad.
For those looking to make a patriotic punt, William Hill free bet offer odds of 25/1 about an England victory in South America and they did hold Brazil to a 2-2 draw during a friendly last summer, although Steven Gerrard has recently admitted his team are long shots to go all the way.
It’s hard to judge the Brazilians considering they have simply been playing friendly matches since qualifying as hosts, although BetVictor are the bookmaker offering the most attractive odds that Phil Scolari steers his team to a sixth World Cup triumph, having gone out in the quarter finals to the Netherlands in 2010.
Home advantage could count for a great deal or could instead add a degree of pressure on the players’ shoulders, with a couple of European teams expected to go well, including the reigning champions Spain.
Vicente del Bosque remains in charge of a talented crop of players who have won their past three major tournaments, having claimed the spoils at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 which sandwiched their 2010 success in South Africa.
To win four on the bounce would be an outstanding achievement and odds of 6/1 are available with bet365 that La Roja are triumphant again, with their ability to keep possession surely an advantage in warm temperatures.
Germany’s reserve team proved too strong for England at Wembley and Joachim Low’s side might finally reach their potential in Rio, with Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger set to provide plenty of quality for a side who are no bigger than 11/2 to claim a fourth World Cup victory.
However, some would argue that South American sides stand a better chance of going all the way and that could apply to an Argentina side who will boast Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi in attack, surely a pairing who could fire them to victory in Brazil.
Can a team outside the “Big Four” become the champions of the world? Belgium’s odds have tumbled from 150/1 to a best price 16/1 following their rapid improvement and clutch of players featuring in the English Premier League, with Marc Wilmots hoping to go a long way with Eden Hazard and Co.
The Netherlands reached the final four years ago before disgracing themselves in the final although they have a typically talented squad of players available, while Colombia are potential dark horses and Coral’s 28/1 looks each-way value as they boast a real goal-getter in Radamel Falcao.