It’s like trying to pick between LeBron James and Michael Jordan. The two best teams in international soccer, according to just about every measure, are Brazil and Germany. But which one belongs on top? We’ll soon find out; the 2018 World Cup begins this Thursday, and while Germany are the defending champions, Brazil have moved ahead of Die Mannschaft on the World Cup futures market.

World Cup 2018 Odds: Brazil vs. Germany

It wasn’t that long ago when Germany were favored to defend their championship. Then they had their 22-match undefeated streak snapped by the Canaries, dropping a 1-0 friendly in Berlin on March 27. A 2-1 loss to Austria followed on June 2. Die Mannschaft won their final match before the World Cup, beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 last Friday, but that didn’t stop Brazil from taking the top spot on the World Cup betting odds market at +400, just ahead of Germany at +475.

Soccer fans are still buzzing about the way Germany trounced Brazil 7-1 at the 2014 World Cup semifinals. The Canaries are a different team now, with Tite at the helm instead of Dunga. Given the opportunity to blend creativity with tactics, they qualified at the top of the CONMEBOL region, and Neymar appeared healthy after scoring in Brazil’s 2-0 friendly win over Croatia, his first game back since injuring his foot in February. He also scored in Brazil’s friendly against Austria on Sunday. Germany might not have the goods this time to prevent Brazil from extracting their World Cup revenge.

Spain, France Loom on 2018 World Cup Odds Board

Then again, there isn’t much of a drop-off between these two Goliaths and the next tier. Spain (+600 2018 World Cup odds) and France (+650 World Cup 2018 odds) are both former World Cup champions who’ve been playing at a very high level for a while now. Spain aren’t quite as strong as they were in 2010 when they won it all, but they’re nearly as offensively gifted as Germany, if not as defensively stout as Brazil. La Roja certainly deserve to be discussed in the same breath as the top two World Cup favorites.

France are a little harder to pin down. This is a young squad with ample talent, but are they ready to compete with the big boys? Manager Didier Deschamps has been criticized for keeping midfielder Paul Pogba under wraps, not allowing him to push forward and join Antoine Griezmann and Les Bleus on the attack. This World Cup will ultimately prove whether Deschamps can get all these moving parts to work together.

Further down the World Cup odds list, Argentina (+900) have to be taken seriously as long as Lionel Messi is still playing at a Ballon D'Or level, and in theory, Belgium (+1100), England (+1600) and even Portugal (+2500) have a fighting chance at glory. But the heavyweight matchup everyone wants to see is Brazil vs. Germany, and if it happens at the World Cup, it will be at the Final on July 15 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.


*Odds as of June 11, 2018