This year’s edition of the World Cup has already dashed the hopes of four countries to date, with more eliminations on the way. So far, this World Cup has seen its fair share of surprises for avid soccer fans. Indeed, World Cup 2010 Champions Spain experienced crushing defeats to Netherlands (in a rematch of that year’s World Cup Finals) and Chile, essentially being shut out of the tournament’s Round of 16. In almost two weeks of intense play (as of this writing), the odds for each remaining team have changed accordingly. Given the unpredictable nature of this world-class competition, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find out that Brazil is playing under enormous pressure as the hosts of this year’s World Cup.
Looking back on recent performances
Most astute soccer fans and pundits have seen the effects of this hometown pressure on Brazil’s performances against Croatia and Mexico. In Brazil’s 3-1 win against Croatia, it was a timely intervention from Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura that helped Brazil to achieve a victory that they struggled to earn. And in Brazil’s scoreless thriller against Mexico, even the formidable tandem of Neymar and Oscar was no match for the stellar defense of Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Reflecting on the latest odds
All told, Brazil’s odds have drifted from a low of 14/5 to 4/1 – a telling sign that speaks volumes about the team’s unconvincing displays so far. Nevertheless, Brazil is still considered the favorite to win Group A, especially after what’s sure to be a confidence booster of a win against Cameroon in the final group game. Furthermore, a Bleacher Report article notes that Brazil is currently sporting 15/4 odds, with Group B leader Netherlands having 9/1 odds.
eymar’s presence on the World Cup.
There’s no denying that Neymar is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. Neymar is currently the top scorer for this year’s edition of the World Cup with four goals. The 22-year-old soccer stud has already received praise from legendary icons like Pele and Ronaldinho. So it’s not too surprising to see online sports betting companies ride the wave of Neymar’s incredible popularity. Online sports betting powerhouse Betfair recently launched a tongue-in-cheek mini-game called Finding Neymar, where players are tasked to find Neymar (along with Mario Balotelli, Gerard Pique, Arjen Robben, and Wayne Rooney) in a sprawling illustration depicting World Cup fans celebrating on the beach.