For the second time in four years, Wednesday’s Copa del Rey Final was an El Clasico as Real Madrid defeated Barcelona 2-1 to win Spain’s oldest soccer competition.
Lionel Messi, Barca forward and captain of Argentina’s national team, leads the way at 7-1. Messi currently has 40 goals on the season, including a pair in World Cup qualifying matches.
Argentina are listed at 9-2 to win the World Cup, but they will need Messi to improve upon his scoreless performance at the 2010 World Cup when Argentina were eliminated in humiliating fashion, 4-0 by Germany in the quarterfinals.
Messi’s teammate, Neymar, failed to score on Wednesday, but the 22-year-old forward, and two-time 40-goal scorer, is expected to play a major role for hosts Brazil, who are 3-1 favorites to win their sixth World Cup trophy.
Neymar currently carries 12-1 odds to lead the tournament in goals.
Real Madrid took to the pitch on Wednesday without Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently sidelined with knee and thigh injuries. At 28-1, Portugal sit well back of the World Cup favorites.
But Ronaldo has been outstanding in World Cup qualifying, scoring seven times in five qualifiers this season.
Four players tied for the goal-scoring lead at the 2010 World Cup, netting five markers apiece. Three of those players are expected to return in 2014.
Forward Diego Forlan’s timely scoring led Uruguay to the semifinal in 2010. Uruguay sit at an interesting 22-1 to win their first World Cup since 1950, but the 34-year-old Forlan sits well back of the goal-scoring favorites at 80-1.
David Villa claimed the Silver Shoe at the 2010 World Cup, but more importantly, his five goals loomed large in Spain’s drive to the title. The defending champs sit among the favorites at 7-1. However, Villa sits at a distant 50-1 to repeat his heroics.
2010 Gold Shoe winner Thomas Muller sports odds of 33-1. The midfielder leads a German national team listed as a strong 5-1 favorite to win their fourth World Cup.