Keeping an Eye on World Cup Qualifying Odds

Written by Super User on 14 August 2015. Posted in News

The qualifying rounds for the upcoming World Cup 2018 are in full swing and so are the books for the odds on some of the best international soccer around. The BBC reports that the 2018 World Cup qualifiers boast a record number of teams with 206 separate countries vying for entry into the world's most popular sports tournament. The first qualifying matches for UEFA are set to be played starting in September, so it's a perfect time to get up to speed on who's involved and how things are looking.

First things first: it's not looking so sunny for France and Italy as both have both been lumped into nightmares of qualifying groups. France has been drawn with the Netherlands and Sweden. As Betfair Betting notes, this match-up is particularly frustrating as it basically ensures that one of these three teams ultimately won't be in the tournament. Also in the article, they note that Italy gets stuck having to duke it out against Spain. However, both countries should make it through their group handily provided they don't destroy each other first. It's a shame because all of these squads boast many of the most talented and entertaining players, some of whom may not make it to the world's biggest stage.

If there's one country that did well for itself when it came to the luck of the draw, it's Wales, the little country that could. Forget that Wales has one of its best generations of players in years, one that includes Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey. Instead, focus on how realistic it is that the Dragons could actually escape their group. While not a shoe-in, it's entirely plausible that Wales could take the top place in a group that includes the likes of Austria, Ireland, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia. According to Bleacher Report, if Wales manages to squeak by to the main stage, it would be the British nation's second World Cup ever and its first since 1958. A berth onto the world's biggest stage is there for Wales to lose at this point, but we definitely like their odds.

England and Germany should be pleased with their qualifying draws as the relatively lax competition should more or less ensure their entry to the tournament. Naturally, Germany is the once again the favorite after completely dominating the 2014 tournament with a squad that has remained relatively unchanged. While England should be thrilled with how things worked out, Scotland doesn't have too much to be upset about either. The two countries were slapped together in Group F along with Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta, none of which poses too many problems for either team.

It's a very real possibility that England, Scotland and Wales could all advance through their group stages. That means three out of four countries of the United Kingdom would be represented in the World Cup, which would be crazy. We stress three out of four because things aren't looking quite so good for Northern Ireland, who will have to battle Germany, Norway and the Czech Republic for a shot at the title. At this point it's anyone's guess who'll make it to the dance, but things are definitely looking on the bright side for the British.

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