The World Cup is less than a year away, and the outright betting market has started to take shape with 10 teams seemingly in the mix to lift the trophy if the odds are anything to go by.
Ten teams are priced at less than 25/1, while every other nation is priced at 50/1 or greater and that includes 2018 finalists, Croatia, who have surely missed their chance with this group of players.
At the top of the market is Brazil, who you can get at 6/1 but some betting apps have them even shorter than that.
This doesn’t feel like outstanding value considering they fell short at the Copa America, but their squad strength is undeniable and they have breezed through qualification with 11 wins and three draws in 14 games to date.
You can’t argue with the same price on France, however, and one firm is even offering 7/1 on Les Bleus to retain the World Cup.
Admittedly, the French have been unconvincing since their 2018 triumph and were dumped out of the Euros by Switzerland last year, but inconsistency has been an undeniable characteristic of the national team over the last few decades and it hasn’t stopped them competing for - and winning - major competitions.
The Nations League may not be the most important tournament in the world, but the fact that France saw off Belgium and Spain to win the event in October shows that they have put the Euro 2020 disappointment behind them and are more than capable of success in Qatar.
England came so close to breaking their 55-year trophy drought in the summer, and while it is a big ask to expect them to make it all the way to the final again, the experience of the Euros will bring them closer together and you could make a strong case for the 8/1 price about the Three Lions to win the World Cup.
It’s a young squad with plenty of attacking options, but the defence may be an issue in Qatar and is certainly the biggest concern for Gareth Southgate.
Spain are also around the 8/1 mark and even though they have some exciting young players like Gavi and Pedri coming through, it remains to be seen whether they are ready to take a leap forward into tournament contention and the injury woes of Ansu Fati definitely don’t help.
Qualification wasn’t as straightforward as Spain would’ve liked it to be, but you can’t deny that they deserve to be among the favourites.
At 11/1 is Germany who have won seven games on the bounce since their defeat to England in June, so Hansi Flick couldn’t have asked for a better start as the new boss.
They have a good mix of youth and experience, but the Germans are still nowhere near as strong as they have been in previous years.
Lionel Messi finally won an international trophy with Argentina as they won the Copa America in 2021, and they would certainly be popular winners at 11/1.
The PSG forward deserves to add a World Cup to his long list of honours. However, seeing off the South American teams is one thing, and outlasting all of the European giants is another.
Belgium and European champions Italy are both priced at 12/1 generally, and while neither have looked impressive in the last six months, those prices could soon come crashing in if they do show some signs of life before Qatar.
The Netherlands are possible dark horses at 16/1, and Portugal will tempt a few at 25/1.