World Cup tips: Our guide to the European teams
Germany lead the betting to be the continent's best performing side, but it looks set to be a disappointing tournament for Portugal.
There are 14 European sides competing at the World Cup – nine more than any other continent – and there is a significant chance one of them will be the eventual winners.
The price of for that to happen suggests as much.
But that’s not going to be Iceland.
They would have to repeat their heroics of 2014 and some, illustrated by their price of to be the top performing European side.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmondsson aside, there is little creativity or talent in the squad.
They have been drawn in a tough group alongside Argentina, Nigeria and Croatia and are likely to be playing catch-up after the opening game against the South American side.
A run of three defeats and a draw from their last four friendlies doesn’t inspire any confidence and they should be backed to finish bottom of Group D at .
While Sweden aren’t going to be Europe’s top side, odds of seem long.
The Blagult progressed to the World Cup at the expense of Italy in a play-off and, backed by key players Emil Forsberg and Marcus Berg, can prove tricky customers in Russia.
The latter bagged 14 goals in his final six matches for Arab side Al Ain and can be backed at to be his country’s top scorer at the tournament.
Sweden are realistically playing for second place in Group F, with Germany likely to finish top, so their fate sould be decided in their final group game against an unpredictable Mexico side.
Back them at to progress to the last 16.
Serbia’s first tournament since 2010 should be a positive one even if they don’t progress beyond the group stage.
They can count themselves unlucky to have been drawn alongside both tournament favourites Brazil and in-form Switzerland.
With Aleksandar Mitrovic leading the line, though, they will present a significant threat going forward.
The striker netted 12 goals while on loan at Fulham in the second half of last season and should be backed at to be Serbia’s top scorer.
Manager Mladen Krstajic has a host of other exciting names to call upon as well, including Dusan Tadic, Nemanja Matic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
A third-place finish looks the likeliest outcome for the eastern European side at .
Denmark’s success in Russia will probably be decided on the basis of their opening game against a tough Peru side.
A defeat would leave them needing to take something from their final match against France.
With Christian Eriksen and co, they are capable of making it to the knock-out stages.
But in such a tight group, there is more value to be had in backing them to miss out at .
Switzerland are going to the World Cup in the best form of any side, having won 14 of their previous 17 matches.
An opening game against Brazil isn’t likely to yield much, but they should be expected to take a least four points from their matches against Serbia and Costa Rica.
A second-placed finish looks probable in Group E, but a potential last-16 tie against Germany would prove a stumbling block.
They are available at to be eliminated in the second round.
Despite having one of the weakest squads at the World Cup, there are plenty of factors in Russia’s favour.
As host nation, they can expect home advantage to play its part – South Africa are the only hosts to ever fail to progress through their group.
Their group is also the weakest of the lot, featuring Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
While they probably won’t pip Uruguay to top spot, second place is a realistic target as illustrated by their price of to qualify for the second round.
Poland have been drawn in the most open group of the tournament and could find themselves on the wrong end of fine margins.
Much depends on the performances of star men Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik, who managed just two goals between them at Euro 2016.
A defeat against Senegal in their opening game will leave them with too much to do and they can be backed for a group stage elimination at .
Croatia arrive in Russia with a realistic chance of challenging in the latter stages of tournament.
With key men Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic all fit and available, they should get off to a good start in their opener against Nigeria.
They can also upset a vulnerable Argentina side, who scraped through qualification for the World Cup.
They represent great value to top Group D at and, with a potential last-16 match against Peru to come, should be trusted to reach the quarter final.
Back them at .
Despite winning the tournament, Portugal were unconvincing at Euro 2016, winning just one game in normal time.
Fernando Santos’ side also benefitted from the expanded format, qualifying for the last 16 in third place. They won’t be as fortuitous this time around.
They are unlikely to take anything from their opening game against Spain and their next match against Morocco – widely considered the best team in Africa – is anything but a gimme.
A run of just two victories from their last six matches does little to inspire confidence and for a group stage elimination should be snapped up.
Scheduling has been kind to England, who play Tunisia and Panama in their first two matches in Group G.
Gareth Southgate’s side should take maximum points from them, leaving little jeopardy on their meeting with Belgium.
Progression to the second round would set up a probable meeting with either Colombia or Senegal, which – given the Three Lions have won just two knockout matches since reaching the World Cup semi-final in 1990 – they should not be trusted to win.
Back a last-16 exit at .
Aside from a fourth-placed finish in 1986, Belgium have never progressed past the quarter finals of the World Cup.
Their propensity to fall short of expectations means it is difficult to get behind them at to be Europe’s top side.
The Red Devils were beaten by Wales at Euro 2016, while they needed extra time to get past USA in the second round of the 2014 World Cup.
A meeting with Colombia or Senegal could see them stumble yet again. They can be backed at for a last-16 exit.
As usual, Spain come into the tournament hugely fancied and their price of for the top European side is appealing.
Made up primarily of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona players, their squad is a world class mix of youth and experience.
Such is their strength in depth that they could call upon Cesar Azpilicueta to replace the injured Dani Carvajal.
It would be no surprise should they top their group with three victories from three, setting up a potential second-round tie against Russia.
But, after failing to progress past the quarter final at Euro 2016 and falling at the group stage four years ago, you should exercise restraint.
Their price of to reach the semi-final is much more appealing than the on offer for them to win the trophy again.
Such is the abundance of quality available to France, Didier Deschamps was able to leave Kingsley Coman, Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette at home.
The Euro 2016 runners up have been impressive in their warm-up friendlies, winning three from four including a 3-1 victory over Italy last time out.
Les Bleus should top their group, but a potential last-16 meeting with either Argentina or Croatia means they shouldn’t be backed to be the top performing European side.
Instead, back them to win their group at .
Predictable, your money should be on Germany.
Joachim Low’s side should negotiate Group F without any major difficulties and from then on, face a favourable path to the final.
A probable last-16 meeting with Switzerland awaits should Die Mannschaft top their group, followed by a quarter final against Colombia or Senegal.
Germany have reached the semi-final in seven of their last eight tournaments and should be backed to do so again at .
They also represent good value to be Europe’s top side at , and shouldn’t be ruled out of winning back-to-back World Cups at .
Portugal to go out in the group stage –
England and Belgium to go out in the last 16 –
Worth a punt
Germany to win the World Cup –
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