All eight previous winners of the World Cup will be in action in Brazil for the 2014 tournament. Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Uruguay will all be trying to repeat their success or successes of previous tournaments. Here we look at the record of these teams and see what the bookmakers think.
Fifa World Cup 2014: A look at the past winners
The chances look good for the 2014 Fifa World Cup to be won by a team that has done it before with all previous winners taking part
Brazil are favourites to win it again
Photo from Fifa
There are 32 countries preparing take part in the world’s largest sporting event, the Fifa World Cup. But many think that the eventual winner in 2014 will come from one of the eight teams that have done it before, as all of them have made it to the final stages.
The eight sides – Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Uruguay – are all in the top ten most fancied by the bookmakers. Here we look at their records and ask whether this year could see a different team added to the winners’ list.
Argentina have won the World Cup twice, the first time on home soil in 1978 when they beat the Netherlands in the final. They repeated the success in 1986, this time in Mexico by beating West Germany in the final. They have also twice been beaten finalists, the first time the World Cup happened in 1930, when they lost to Uruguay in Uruguay, and in 1990 when they lost to West Germany in Italy.
With such a pedigree, it is no surprise the bookmakers fancy Argentina to add another win to their portfolio. The South Americans are second favourites to lift the trophy with odds of around 4/1 though 13/2 is available.
Brazil are the biggest name in international football having won the tournament a record five times and been beaten finalists twice. They first made the final in 1950 on home soil when they lost to Uruguay, but they went one better in 1958 beating hosts Sweden in the final, making them still the only non-European team to win a World Cup in Europe. They followed that next time out by beating Czechoslovakia in the final in Chile in 1962. They then beat Italy in the 1970 final in Mexico, but had to wait until 1994 for their next triumph, when they again beat Italy in the final, this time in the USA. The following World Cup – in 1998 – they lost to hosts France in the final and then in 2002 beat Germany in the final in Japan.
The combination of such an impressive track record and home advantage has made Brazil clear favourites to win the trophy again this year. Gamblers will be lucky to get anything better than 3/1 for a home victory.
England have only reached the final once, in 1966 on home soil when they beat West Germany, helped by a hat-trick form Geoff Hurst. There is not much confidence among the betting community for England to repeat their 1966 achievement with odds of around 28/1.
France won the final against Brazil on home soil in 1998 and then reached the final in 2006 in Germany, where they lost to Italy. France are better fancied than England, but only just with odds of about 25/1.
A united Germany have never won the World Cup, but they did win it three times as West Germany, the first in 1954 when they beat Hungary in Switzerland. They then beat the Netherlands in the final on home soil in 1974 and beat Argentina in the final in Italy in 1990. Also as West Germany, they came runners-up three times, losing to England in England in 1966, to Italy in Spain in 1982 and to Argentina in Mexico in 1986. They have reached the final once since reunification, losing to Brazil in Japan in 2002.
Many think this could be Germany’s year, and the bookmakers have them as third favourites with odds of 6/1 or 13/2.
Italy are the second most successful nation in the World Cup having won it four times and been runners-up twice. Their run started with back-to-back wins in 1934 against Czechoslovakia in Italy and in 1938 against Hungary in France. They had to wait until 1970 for their next appearance in a final when they lost to Brazil in Mexico. In 1982, they beat West Germany in the final in Spain and then in 1994 lost to Brazil in the final in the USA. Their most recent victory was in 2006 when they beat France in the final in Germany.
Despite a solid record in this competition, Italy are not well fancied to do well this year. Odds of around 26/1 are typical.
Spain celebrate their 2010 victory
Photo by Anthony Stanley
Spain are the reigning world champions, having won the World Cup for their first and only time in 2010, beating the Netherlands in the final in South Africa. A strong squad once again means many think they are in the running and are fourth favourites at 13/2.
Uruguay were the first ever winners of the World Cup, beating Argentina in the 1930 final, which was held in Uruguay. They reached the final one more time, in 1950, when they beat Brazil in Brazil. Uruguay are the least fancied of the former winners, with odds up to 33/1 available. However, if they get through what is a tough group, those odds will drop rapidly.
Other beaten finalists
Out of the teams playing this year, the Netherlands are the only other finalists, having reached that stage three times – in 1974, 1978 and 2010 – but have never won the tournament. The other beaten finalists who have never won the cup are Czechoslovakia (1934 and 1962), Hungary (1938) and Sweden (1958), and none of them has reached the final stages this year.
Meeting in Brazil
Group D in the 2014 World Cup looks a tough battle with three former winners – England, Italy and Uruguay – fighting for the two qualifying places. This, of course, means at least one former winner will not make it to the knockout stages. None of the other five past winners face each other in the group stages, though Spain are up against three-times beaten finalists the Netherlands.
Other fancied teams
Could there be a new name on the trophy this year? Well, Germany obviously is a strong contender, as they’ve only ever won it as West Germany. But a brand new team? Not many think the Netherlands can go one better than last year, with some having them as high as 37/1. Portugal’s improvement in recent years sees them slotting in at 28/1. But the team most fancied to lift the cup for the first time are Belgium, who are fifth favourites with odds up to 22/1.