Next stop, Brazil.
The last major step in preparation for the 2014 World Cup was completed on Friday as FIFA placed all 32 qualifying countries into eight groups, some of the "Death" variety and some of the "We-Are-So-Lucky-To-Be-In-This-Group" variety.
Overstating the importance of the World Cup draw is impossible. As we saw on Friday, it can make the difference between having to play Germany, Ghana and Portugal (as the United States must do) vs. having to play Switzerland, Ecuador and France (as fellow Pot 3 member Honduras must do).
As such, we've already seen the odds begin to sway significantly now that we know each country's path to Rio de Janeiro.
Here's an updated post-draw look, via Sky Bet:
There's no reason Brazil shouldn't be the favorites. The Selecao put together a transcendent performance in June's Confederation's Cup, and with young talent such as Neymar and Oscar, they will only continue to get better under World Cup-winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Moreover, being on home soil is of massive importance.
Still, after what should be a romp through Group A, the Brazilians are likely going to have to face either Spain, Netherlands or fellow South Americans Chile in the Round of 16, making it difficult to bet on Scolari's squad with such teeny potential for a payout (10-3 odds).
Coming out of Group F, then likely playing the runner-up from Group E (Switzerland, Ecuador, France Honduras), Argentina (9-2), on the other hand, have a really favorable route to the quarterfinals and it's not surprising to see them as the No. 2 favorites.
The next two on the list, Germany (11-2) and Spain (7-1), are arguably the two most talented teams on the planet, but both must make it out fairly stacked groups.
Nevertheless, those are pretty tantalizing odds for the top two ranked countries in the world.
Best bet to win the World Cup?
If you're in the mood for a sleeper, it's always smart to look to the South American countries. Colombia (20-1), Uruguay (25-1) and Chile (33-1) are compelling choices, although the latter two face difficult groups.
Further highlighting the importance of the draw, France—forced to qualify via play-off—have seen their odds (20/1) skyrocket after being placed in a group with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras, while the United States, which has looked really good the last several months under Jurgen Klinsmann, are down to 150-1 after falling into Group G.
You can expect the odds to continue to fluctuate in the months leading up to the World Cup next June, but they won't likely ever be affected more than they were following the draw.