Weblog: The football punter

Spain can reign supreme once again in World Cup

None of the teams at the World Cup are the finished article but Spain have strong claims to repeat their triumph of 2010 and look the best value.

Spain were tagged as a team in decline at Brazil 2014 but return to the biggest stage with a spring in their step after going 19 games unbeaten.

Since Euro 2016 they have won away to Belgium (2-0) and France (2-0), drawn away to England (2-2) and Germany (1-1) and won 6-1 at home to Argentina.

Brazil are the only one of the top seven sides in the World Cup betting not to have faced Spain over the last two years and the teams' paths will not cross until the semi-finals or the final in Russia.

Brazil have made impressive progress since Tite took over in June 2016.

But they have some mental baggage to overcome after failures at their last three major tournaments (World Cup 2014 and Copa America's 2015 and 2016).

Of the other contenders Germany do not look the force they were in 2014 and France, Argentina Belgium have better teams on paper than in practise.

England could go well at a big price and will have a better chance if they meet Germany rather than Brazil in the quarter-finals.

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Match in Focus

17:30 TODAY BT3

F Dusseldorf v B Leverkusen

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Fortuna Dusseldorf are averaging six shots on target per game in this season's Bundesliga
Expert verdict
Go for goals in the Rheinland derby with newly-promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf capable of making life tricky for Bayer Leverkusen. Fortuna had seven shots on target in last week's 0-0 draw at Stuttgart and have also beaten Hoffenheim 2-1 at home as well as forcing eight attempts at goal in a 1-1 draw at Leipzig which could quite easily have witnessed many more goals.