Host nation Brazil remain atop the betting at 10/3 to win their home World Cup next term and having failed to deliver in front of their own fans in the past they’ll have redoubled motivation to do so this time around.
After a power-packed qualification campaign Germany are nipping at their heels as 4/1 second-favourites with defending champions Spain the next most feared at 6/1.
Six of the 19 previous World Cups have been won by the host nation.
However Brazil will feel that they have some making up to do with the loss to Uruguay in the final game of the 1950 tournament on home soil regarded as one of the darkest days in their footballing history.
Needing only a draw to lift the trophy in the final group game (the group winner took the trophy back in those days of grainy black and white footage) they were beaten 2-1.
The deafening silence of the 174,000 capacity Maracana was known to have haunted many of the vanquished Selecao players for decades.
The last successful World Cup defence was mounted by the Brazilians back in 1962.
Previously to that it had been achieved by Italy in the 1930s, but in the last five decades the iconic trophy has been a slippery mistress.
Germany and Brazil reached three consecutive finals without retaining the cup in the 1980s and 1990s, making the challenge awaiting Vicente Del Bosque’s era-defining Spanish side seem all the more daunting.
However in their favour the all conquering Furia Roja became the first side in history to retain the European Championships in their last major tournament.
Belgium have qualified for their first international competition since 2002.
If you’d told fans watching the side KO’d by Brazil in the second round in Japan and South Korea that their nation would be 12/1 fifth-favourites in bwin’s World Cup 2014 betting they’d have had you locked up.
Thanks to the sudden coalescence of an incredibly fruitful harvest of talented footballers that’s exactly where they are after qualifying unbeaten and top of Group A in the European section.
With a rock-solid defence that shipped just four goals in the ten game campaign and the enviable quandary of how to combine the incendiary talents of Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku and Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke up front the Red Devils will be a feared adversary in Brazil.