Spain trimmed into $8.50 to win Russia World Cup
SPAIN are shaping as the bolters of the 2018 World Cup and punters are flocking to La Furia Roja, with the 2010 champions trimmed in by as much as $2 with some odds-makers.
The in-form team has been buoyed by an unbeaten run under new coach Julen Lopetegui, who took the reins from Vincent del Bosque after the Euro 2016 elimination by Italy.
Finally Spain have an optimistic outlook again and fresh blood with young winger Marco Asensio and attacking midfielder Isco (Francisco Roman Alarcon Suarez) both shooting into International prominence this year.
While Lopetegui is yet to face the pressure of tournament football, when a nation of 46 million hangs on every attacking foray, he is optimistic about Spanish hopes in Russia.
“What we always want is that all players, and in particular ours, remain healthy and in good form, as well have as a leading role in their [club] teams,” he said recently.
“Isco played an extraordinary game in a match as important as the Champions League against PSG and is an important player for Madrid.
“About Marco Asensio, I think the same.
“We want all players to be stars and to be happy, because the better our internationals fare with their clubs, the better for us.”
Spain will ramp up preparation for the June World Cup with a friendly against Germany on March 24, before clashing with Argentina, another leading hope in Russia, four days later.
They will then play two more friendlies, against Switzerland and Tunisia, on June 3 and 9, before their opening World Cup game against arch rival Portugal on June 16.
The latest chapter in the Iberian Derby comes after La Furia Roja defeated Portugal at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with the final scoreline of 1-0 not reflecting their dominance.
The challenge Lopetegui is facing is to continue his brave selection policy under which he has introduced new blood such as Isco, Koke, Asensio and José Callejón into the line-up to gel with the likes of experienced campaigners such as Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Andrès Iniesta and David Silva.
Spain are on the fourth line of betting in the outright market to win the World Cup, at $8.50, with Germany and Brazil both at $5.50; while France $7 is outright third favourite.
Argentina ($10), Belgium ($13) and success-starved England ($17) have also had some support.
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