The Field
(FIFA Ranking and Odds to Win the World Cup)

Germany (1st +450) – Won UEFA Group C (Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino) without much competition, 10-0 Group Record, 4 goals against. The defending champs are looking to repeat and anything less would be a disappointment. It will be hard to bet against Germany at any point in this tournament.

Brazil (2nd +400) – Won the CONMEBOL round robin with a 12-5-1 record, +30 Goal differential. Their only loss coming to Chile in the first match of the tournament back on Oct 8, 2015. They are defiantly looking to avenge an embarrassing loss at home to Germany in the last World Cup. Anything less than a championship would also be a disappointment to Brazil.

Belgium (3rd +1100) – Won UEFA Group H (Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Cyprus, Gibraltar). Never lost a game in group, +37 goal differential in the 10 group games. A final four appearance is expected.

Portugal (4th +2500) – Won UEFA Group B (Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra) with just the one hiccup loss to Switzerland to start group play back in September 2016. Having one of the greatest players in the world on your squad always raises the bar. Portugal will be expected to make a deep run.

Argentina (5th +900) – 3rd Place in CONMEBOL qualifying tournament. Not the result they were hoping for but they did accomplish the task in hand by qualifying. A top 5 team with a top 2 player in the world makes Argentina a favourite in this World Cup. After losing to Germany in extra time of the 2014 World Cup finals, Argentina would like no more than make it back to the finals. It will be hard to find value with this team as the tournament plays out, take a look at the clean sheet prop.

Switzerland (6th +10000) – UEFA Second Round Tournament Qualifier. Switzerland defiantly took one of the harder routes to get here, after failing to win UEFA Group B (Portugal) Switzerland had to play in the second round tournament. They drew Northern Ireland were they won 1-0 at home and played to a nil-nil tie in Ireland.

France (7th +650) – Won UEFA Group A (Sweden, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Belarus) one of the harder UEFA groups. Big things are expected from this France team as they got what is considered by many as the easiest group in the World Cup tournament. It would be worth a look in a future if France gets up to +1000.

Spain (8th +600) – Won UEFA Group G (Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein) without losing a group game. Spain sits in a group with what seems like at times, their arch rivals Portugal. Even with Portugal in their group, they should advance to the knockout stage.

Poland (10th +5000) – Won UEFA Group E (Denmark, Montenegro, Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan). Only the one group game against Denmark (4-0) was the only concern in qualifying action. Poland will want to advance past the group phase after failing to qualify for the last 2 World Cups.

Peru (11th +20000) – OFC / CONMEBOL Play-off Qualifier. The last time Peru qualified for the World Cup was 1982 and to end this streak, they needed 2 extra games. After a 5th place finish in CONMEBOL group play, Peru only got through to the play-off because they had a +1 goal differential and Chile was -1. Peru than needed to beat New Zealand, 2-0 on aggregate. In the wide open Group C, Peru can advance to the second round for the first time in 40 years.

Denmark (12th +10000) – UEFA Second Round Tournament Qualifier. After losing 2 early group games, Denmark had to rally and finish strong just to get to the second round. Here they drew the Republic of Ireland. After a dominating 5-1 win in Ireland, they were on their way to Russia and the World Cup. Denmark is in an intriguing spot with France, Australia and Peru, where all 4 of these teams would like to advance to the 2nd round. An early win against Peru will set them up nicely for the round of 16.

England (13th +1800) – Won UEFA Group F (Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta) without losing a match. After losing a devastating Round 16 match against Iceland in Euro Cup 2016, England is looking for a much better finish in this international tournament.

Tunisia (14th +75000) – Won Group A of the 3rd Round of CAF Tournament. Yet to advance beyond the group stage in this tournament, Tunisia has formed a squad looking to change that trend. Drawing England and Belgium in their group will make advancing extremely difficult. Look for Tunisia to cause some trouble in this group.

Mexico (15th +10000) – Won the 5th Round of the CONCACAF. Being a top 6 CONCACAF ranked team, Mexico got a bye straight to the 4th Round. Mexico qualified with ease, losing only once, a meaningless game to Honduras on the last day.

Colombia (16th +4000) – 4th Place in the CONMEBOL qualifying tournament. Defiantly one of the harder regions to qualify for the World Cup, Colombia was able to. A long tournament, Colombia struggled down the stretch, going winless in the last 4 games and holding on to the last qualifying spot. Colombia should be an instant advancement to the Round of 16.

Uruguay (17th +3300) – Runner Up in CONMEBOL tournament allowed Uruguay to qualify. A tightly played qualification tournament (7-7-4 Record) Uruguay qualified 2 points ahead of Peru.   They should easily get through the group phase (Russia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia). After that is anyone’s guess. At times Uruguay looks unbeatable and then you wonder how they even qualified. Which team shows up? After group action, I will be avoiding this team.

Croatia (18th +3300) – UEFA Second Round Tournament Qualifier. After failing to qualify in Group I, Croatia dew Greece and advanced on a 4-1 aggregate. Drawing a group of Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria, Croatia is looking to get through to the Round of 16. All eyes will be on their offense who only managed 8 goals in 8 games in group qualifying which was a main reason how they ended up in the second round qualifying tournament.

Iceland (22nd +20000) – Won UEFA Group I (Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland, Kosovo). This was the first time Iceland had won a UEFA qualifying group and the first time the nation qualified for the World Cup. After a Cinderella run at the 2016 Euro Cup, a lot of eyes will be on this team from Iceland. They will defiantly be looking to get out of the group phase.

Sweden (23rd +15000) – UEFA Second Round Tournament Qualifier. Switzerland played extremely well in group play but lost out on goal differential to top group team Portugal. Drawing Italy in the most anticipated second round match up. Sweden won a 1-0 aggregate, handing Italy it’s most embarrassing result ever. Where does Sweden go from here is anyone’s guess. A strong group B performance, has Sweden believing it is posed for a deep run. With Mexico and Germany in their group, getting to the Round of 16 would be a major success.

Costa Rica (25th +50000) – 2nd in the CONCACAF 5th Round. Costa Rica got to the quarter finals just 4 years ago in what was their best finish ever. They won what was considered at the time the group of death (Uruguay. Italy and England) and then beat Greece in the Round of 16. Costa Rica can be another sneaky 2nd Round team, behind Brazil in their group all they will have to contend with is Switzerland, the winner of this match will probably go on as the 2nd team from this group. Look for Costa Rica to play a very defensive game against Brazil and hope they come away with a point.

Senegal (28th +20000) – Won Group D of the 3rd Round of the CAF Tournament. Defense got them here as they only allowed 3 goals in the final 6 games of qualifying. In a group with Japan, Poland and Colombia, it wouldn’t be crazy if Senegal got out of the group phase. +125 to advance to the Round of 16 could be worth a look.

Serbia (35th +20000) – Won UEFA Group D (Republic of Ireland, Wales, Austria, Georgia, Moldova). No one expected this, Serbia to win this group. Playing poised defense and only allowing an average of 1 goal against a game, Serbia will need to continue to play their best defense to get out of the group phase.

Iran (36th +50000) – Won Group A of the 3rd Round of the AFC tournament to qualify for the World Cup. After getting through the 1st and 2nd round of the AFC. Iran went out defeated in the 3rd Round, only giving up 2 goals in 10 games, however they only scored 10 as goals were hard to come by in this group (which included South Korea, Syria, Uzbekistan, China and Qatar).

Australia (40th +30000) – CONCACAF / AFC Play-Off Qualifier. One of the harder ways to get in the tournament, Australia managed 19 points in the group play of the AFC tournament which got them in this play-off where they played Honduras. Australia played to a strong nil-nil draw in Honduras which set them up for a winner take all game at home. Australia has only made it out of Word Cup group play once, 2006. I don’t expect that to change.

Morocco (42nd +50000) – Won Group C of the 3rd Round of the CAF Tournament. Morocco did not allow a single goal in group (Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Mali) play. Making their first appearance since 1998, they are not a lot of expectations here.

Egypt (46th +15000) – Won Group E of the CAF 3rd Round tournament to qualify for the World Cup. Not exactly the toughest competition (Uganda, Ghana, Congo), Egypt was able to cruise to a 4-1-1 record to take the group.

Nigeria (47th +20000) – Won Group B of the CAF 3rd Round tournament to qualify for the World Cup. Making their 3rd consecutive trip to the World Cup, Nigeria would love to advance to the knock out stage as they did in 2014, in a group with Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, which might be an incredible hard task. Look for Nigeria to have to grind for every point.

Panama (55th +100000) – 3rd Place in the CONCACAF 5th Round tournament. Only qualifying because Trinidad and Tobago did the unimaginable and beat the United States on the last day, Panama was able to automatically qualify. Anything less than a US loss and Panama would have been eliminated. It’s a great story, but in a group with England and Belgium I don’t expect anything from this squad.

Japan (60th +30000) – Won Group B of the 3rd Round of the AFC tournament to qualify for the World Cup, One point better than Saudi Arabia. Japan did not lose in round 2 of the AFC tournament.

South Korea (61st +75000) – Finished 2nd in Group A of the 3rd Round of the AFC tournament behind Iran. In a group with Mexico, Germany and Sweden, South Korea will be lucky to get a point.

Russia (66th +40000) – Host Nation, Automatic qualifier. If they weren’t the host, chances are they wouldn’t be here.

Saudi Arabia (67th +100000) – Placed 2nd in Group B of the 3rd Round AFC Tournament. This is their first appearance in the World Cup since 2006. They have only advanced out of group play once (1994) and I don’t expect them to get out of group play this year either.