Russia 2018 has concluded, with France being crowned champion. Their victory brought an end to the 21st edition of the global showpiece, with focus now turning to the next World Cup in Qatar. Before the FIFA World Cup began, the top online betting sites marked a few teams as favourites to be crowned champion in Russia, with Germany, Spain and France attracting the most attention. So how did the pre-tournament favourites fare at the showpiece?
Having won the 2014 World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017, many saw Germany as the odds-on favourite to lift the trophy again. How they failed.
They were boosted by the return of Dortmund star Marco Reus, who cruelly missed the showpiece in Brazil four years ago, but even his return could do nothing to aid Germany’s cause. An opening day defeat against Mexico was followed by an undeserved 2-1 win over Sweden. Then came one of the shocks of the tournament, as minnow South Korea beat the Germans in the final group game to knock them out at the first round.
Spain did the unthinkable by sacking manager Julen Lopetegui just a day before the World Cup kicked off. This decision came as a shock to the squad, but they seemed to shake it off quickly. A thrilling display against Portugal earned them a draw on the opening day, with a 1-0 victory over Iran to follow.
They faced a scare in their final group game against Morocco but ultimately earned a draw, which saw them facing Russia in the first knock-out stage. Despite breaking numerous passing records in that game, they fell to the hosts on penalties, suffering a disappointing exit.
France was crowned world champion in Moscow, sealing their second world title in style. It was a fairly smooth ride through the group stages, with victories over Australia and Peru followed by a draw against Denmark.
A last 16 tie against Argentina was the spring that boosted them through to the final. A 4-2 win against Messi and Co. was followed by narrow victories over Uruguay and Belgium, with stars Kante, Griezmann and Mbappe putting in noteworthy displays along the way.
A final victory over Croatia sparked celebrations in Paris, as goals from Pogba, Griezmann and Mbappe, as well as an own-goal, saw them crowned champions of the world, justifying their status as pre-tournament favourites.
Check out the infographic below to see how the other top teams in Russia fared.
Infographic URL: https://bettingsites.me.uk/the-football-world-cup-2018-the-top-16-teams-with-interesting-numbers/