World Cup tips: Our guide to the North American teams
Mexico head Costa Rica and Panama in the outright betting, but we think the best value lies elsewhere.
North America are the continent with least representation in Russia, and much success for any of its three nations looks highly unlikely.
Particularly for Panama, who are the fifth-lowest ranked team in the tournament.
Hernan Dario Gomez’s side will certainly ruffle a few feathers against Belgium and England, with heavy-handed tactics a feature of both their qualification and subsequent friendlies against European opposition.
But the reality is they have only managed to beat Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago in their last seven matches, a run that includes a 6-0 tonking at the hands of Switzerland.
Even if Group G’s big boys follow through on their reputation of failing to deliver at summer tournaments, Tunisia would surely be the more likely beneficiary.
Their price of to fall at the first hurdle reflects the difficulty of their task.
That leaves a straight contest between Costa Rica and Mexico to end up as North America’s top side.
With both drawn in groups featuring favourites to win the tournament – Brazil and Germany respectively – then their head-to-heads with the other teams will clearly prove crucial.
That would appear to favour Mexico, who are favourites to progress from Group F ahead of Sweden and South Korea.
Juan Carlos Osorio has several exciting names to call upon, including Porto’s Hector Herrera and Hirving Lozano, who was a star of PSV’s Eredevisie title-winning season, and will have his progress checked by several of Europe’s top clubs.
They also head into the tournament full of confidence, having won four of their last six matches.
That said, progression ahead of a stubborn Sweden side – who have conceded five goals in their last 10 matches – is far from assured enough to justify their price of to be the continent’s top performer.
After their run to the quarter-finals in 2014, Costa Rica certainly have the necessary experience to navigate one of the toughest groups to call.
Fourteen of their 23-man squad has at least 40 caps to their name, with an attacking duo of Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell – who still, extraordinarily, belongs to Arsenal – backed up by a strong spine that includes Celtic’s Cristian Gamboa and Deportivo’s Celso Borges.
But there are legitimate concerns that their day in the sun came and went four years ago. Oscar Ramirez’s side won just two of their last eight qualifying matches, and have lost a string of friendlies in the build-up to the tournament.
Should they lose out to tournament dark horses Serbia in their first match, then it’s tough to see any way back for them.
Indeed, there are enough significant doubts about each team’s ability to progress that a #BetYourWay price of for group stage exits across the board is a tempter.
If there is to be a clear North American winner, then Costa Rica have to be backed at , with Mexico – despite arguably being handed a preferable draw – holding no value whatsoever at .
Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama all to be eliminated at the group stage –
Worth a punt
Top North American team: Costa Rica –
Click here to visit Betway's football betting page.