The greatest tournament in sport is surely the soccer World Cup, with more global viewers even than the Olympics. Originated in 1930 by the then FIFA-President Jules Rimet, the tournament takes place every four years and to date there have been twenty World Cups, with Brazil the most successful country, having won the fabled competition five times. Italy and Germany (including under the former guise of West Germany) have won the trophy four times.
From the original tournament where just 13 teams did battle, every four years now sees 32 teams gather in the country of choice, which itself has been the subject of some controversy in recent months, with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter removed from his post amid allegations of bribery and corruption. Despite the ongoing investigation, the tournaments in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) look set to go ahead as planned.
Each World Cup consists of a group stage and knockout phase, with eight groups of four teams, the top two in each group progressing to the knockout phase. From then on, it's a cup competition, with drama, thrills, extra-time and often penalty shoot-outs deciding the fate of each country in what is largely recognised as the greatest sporting spectacle on Earth.
After winning in the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Germany took their first title an a unified country and ended a 24-year wait for victory, courtesy of Mario Gotze's extra-time winner after Lionel Messi, often hailed as the world's best football player missed a chance in normal time. The tournament's highest scorer was Colombia's James Rodriguez, available at an incredible 150/1 before the tournament started and a consistently brilliant performer in colombia's run to the quarter-finals, where they were halted by the host country, Brazil.
Brazil, so strongly fancied in their own country and in Europe, were routed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals in one of the most sensational games in World Cup history. A twenty-minute period saw the Germans run riot, knocking in four goals and leading to tears in the stands as the home country's fans saw their team's chances evaporate in front of their eyes.
Argentina, so well-fancied to lift the cup on Brazilian soil largely due to the prodigious talent of Lionel Messi, stuttered for long periods of what looked on paper like routine games. In truth, they rode their luck to reach the final, not least in beating Holland on penalties at the semi-final stage. In the final, they were second-best to the superior teamwork of Germany and the first European champions ever in South American World Cups were crowned.
Russia 2018 will be a completely different environment in which to battle for the World Cup. With so many European teams looking to get stronger in the build-up to the first ever tournament to be held in Russia, we'll be giving you all the tips you need to make the next World Cup as historic in betting terms as it will be in football folklore.
Best World Cup Sportsbook Odds
Who'll win the 2018 World Cup? Current holders Germany are the favorite in the market but we also expect Brazil and Argentina to be popular among bettors. Have a look at the latest odds.
Other heavyweights such as three-time World Champions Italy, whose record in tournaments is stronger than most. Will perennial underachievers England or fancied outsiders such as Belgium manage to win a rare World Cup?
What Are The World Cup Standings Today
Look at the group standings for the World Cup and make your bets accordingly. You'll be able to diagnose whether a futures bet is in the cards or if you're better off sticking to a one-off.
How To Make Money Betting On The World Cup
There is many ways to make money betting on the world's most-watched sporting event, the World Cup. Sports bettors love tryint their luck with futures bets for this type of event as it adds excitement to the tournament and these types of bets usually offer good payouts.
Prop bets are becoming increasingly popular for international soccer tournaments. There is no shortage of potential props to keep you entertained and it's a great way to make money quickly and efficiently. Betting on the top goal scorer of the tournament is another bet that is on the radar of most World Cup bettors.
Keep an eye on individual game odds and check them frequently as they'll fluctuate as game time approaches. Make sure you jump on the odds when they favor your potential bets so you're payout is higher.
World Cup 2014 Finals Highlights
Mario Gotze's match-winning goal saw Germany triumph over Lionel Messi's Argentina at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Who will win the trophy in 2018?