We’re down to four.
The World Cup is at the semi-final stages which means teams, and the punters who have backed them, are just potentially 180 minutes away from hero status. It also means Paddy can get a grip on just how much he’s going to be coughing up when one of Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Holland, lift the trophy on Sunday night.
The traders are finding it tough to call with Argentina the marginal favourites at 5/2. Hosts Brazil and the ultra-efficient Germans are both 13/5 ahead of their showdown on Tuesday, and Holland are the outsiders of the four at 7/2.
We’ve taken advantage of a quieter Monday in the office to delve into Paddy’s World Cup book, and this is where your outright cash is heading, going into the last week of the 2014 World Cup.
The tournament is tighter than Paddy Kenny’s waistband as none of the final four has particularly excelled to get to this stage. Punters have their favourites, however, and if the cash is right, we’ll be set up for an all-South American showdown when Brazil take on the Argies in the final.
- The majority of the book is on Messi and co. Despite needing extra-time to see of Switzerland and looking pretty unconvincing in the quarter-final against Belgium, punters fancy Argentina to win their first World Cup since 1986 and kick the Messi-Maradonna comparisons into overdrive
- More than a quarter of punters’ cash is on Brazil. The hosts have ridden their luck on more than one occasion to get this far and have had the benefit of some dodgy-looking referee calls to boot. Neymar’s World Cup is over so that chunk of money might have lost a bit of confidence going in to the final week
- 19 per cent of people are siding with the Germans who are making their fourth semi-final appearance on the spin. In an attempt to live up to every stereotype this Blog has written, Germany have been pretty efficient to get to this point, seeing off a decent Algeria side in extra-time and then dismissing a France side who looked like they were more than happy to settle for a 1-0 loss in the quarters
- Just 15 per cent of the cash is on Holland who arguably but in the finest display of any of these sides when they took apart the reigning champs Spain 5-1 in the opening week. In the knock-outs though it took two goals in the last five minutes to see off Mexico and despite dominating against Costa Rica it still came down to penalties and some Louis Van Gaal-inspired magic from keeper Tim Krul
Who will make the final? Who will lift the trophy? Will Pitbull be at the closing ceremony wearing those ridiculous cream three-quarter length trousers. Nobody knows, but it’s going to be a thrilling final week for football (although probably not for fashion.)