Everybody loves an underdog story, but none more so than World Cup betting aficionados. The current iteration of the global tournament has had its share of breathtaking, heart-stopping performances in which a David has nailed a stone right in between Goliath’s eyes. The most notable example has been ‘umble Costa Rica slaying the supposed giant Italy, and while upstarts Colombia and Belgium have not yet enjoyed that type of single greatest World Cup moment -the kind that gets replayed over and over through the years, such as Maradona’s hand of god- they have far exceeded expectations.
Of course that now we know that this was arguably Europe’s worst representation in the history of the sport with Spain, Portugal, England, and Italy all sent packing early without even putting up a proper fight. However, favorites will be favorites, including Brazil, Argentina, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, even though the two South American squads have left a lot to be desired. Still, the cup will probably be decided between two traditional candidates as opposed to two surprises, or even a traditional and a surprise. Cinderella stories -like Croatia, Turkey, and Uruguay in past editions- usually only make it as far as 3rd or 4th place, which is still pretty damn good.
Truth be told, all those teams that were supposed to be favorites and ended up disappointments will still retain that status four years from now, despite the fact that their reputation is sustained by nothing more than past glories, as is the case of England and Argentina who have been in a drought since 1996 and 1986 respectively. Even Uruguay is sometimes considered World Champion material -even though it’s been six and a half decades since they won their last cup-; so much so that were part of the so-called ‘group of death,’ though it should have been called the’ group of three has-beens and one gonna-be. ’ Similarly, today’s pleasant surprises will inevitably go back to being yesterday’s flashes in the pan. But that’s why they were surprises to begin with, isn’t it?