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World Cup 2014 Update

Brazil’s success in the Confederations Cup has not only cemented their place at the head of the market for the 2014 World Cup, it has also set the scene for a party of all parties next summer as the Samba Boys and their fabulous fans dance their way through yet another football celebration.

Coral rate the five-time World Cup winners 100/30 favourites following their demolition of Spain (9/2) at the Maracana Stadium and it’s hard to imagine a better dress rehearsal for Brazil and their supporters, who had the hairs on the back of the neck standing up with their wonderful rendition of their national anthem before Neymar and the rest tore into Europe’s finest

There was a lot of talk afterwards of a new football world order with Brazil now a step ahead of Spain, but La Roja aren’t a spent force quite yet – especially with such a talented bunch of youngsters, like Under-21 captain Thiago, waiting in line for their chance to shine

And we should not forget absent friends like Lionel Messi’s Argentina (5/1) and European powerhouses Germany (11/2), who would have provided Brazil and Spain with even sterner tests than Italy and Uruguay if they had been participating in the Confederations Cup.

Football’s world rankings can normally be taken with a large dose of salt, but it was interesting to see that Colombia have been promoted to third (behind Spain and Germany). Los Calateros don’t have a great World Cup pedigree, but their latest crop of players, including the brilliant striker Radamel Falcao, are considered a golden generation and might make more of an impact next year than their 33/1 price suggests.

Europe’s dark horses are Belgium (20/1). Naming famous Belgians has always been a jokey challenge, but try these on: Mignolet, Kompany, Vertonghen, Vermailen, Fellaini, Hazard, Dembele, Benteke, Mirallas and Lukaku, all starring in the Premier League.

Impressive so far in qualifying, Belgium are expected to fare better than many of the bigger European nations, like Holland (22/1), England (25/1) and France (28/1).

And the good thing about them is they probably still haven’t reached their peak. Indeed, Coral’s 20/1 Belgium for the 2016 Euros makes even more appeal when all the above-mentioned players will still be in their twenties, apart from Kompany and Vermailen (who will be 30).

England have dropped six places to 15 in the latest world rankings – their lowest position in over a decade, but at least more realistic than their third place last year. There are a few qualifiers to negotiate first, of course, but after that, well, who knows? It will be great just to be invited to the party.

Written by Jon Freeman