Through five days of the 2014 World Cup, some of the favorites have made convincing statements, but certainly not all.
While the host country of Brazil has remained steady with the best odds of any nation to hoist the trophy on July 13, most of their top competition has already taken the pitch. While a few nations have blown out their opponents to make an early statement, other teams deemed as serious title contenders have gone down in demoralizing fashion.
However, only one-third of the group stage is in the books—and not even that if you're Group H, which kicks off Tuesday. So when put into perspective, we're just getting started figuring out who will be in serious contention in the latter rounds.
Let's break down the latest odds to win the World Cup and delve into how the top teams looked in their openers.
|2014 World Cup: Odds to Win|
Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark as of June 16
Croatia shocked the entire country of Brazil just minutes into the 2014 World Cup opener, but the Brazilians battled back and set the tone for a group stage of comebacks with a 3-1 victory to open up play. They weren't dominant for the whole 90 minutes, but Brazil proved worthy of their lofty status as the favorite among the 32 teams.
The biggest knock on this Brazil team recently has been its mental fortitude and ability to battle adverse situations, a weakness that cost them in 2010. It was immediately tested when Croatia took an early lead, but Brazil didn't budge.
Instead, they looked to their new hero to save the day. Neymar scored a brace and led an offensive onslaught to lead Brazil to an opening three points.
Plenty lies ahead still for Brazil, as they'll face Mexico on Tuesday with the winner moving into the lead with just one match to play. Should the Brazilians fail to win that, they could be in trouble heading into their final match against Cameroon.
But it's highly unlikely at this point that the Brazilians will face a serious test until perhaps the quarterfinal round.
Many of the heavyweights opened up play against a much inferior opponent, even if they were a quality side, and got a pass for a performance that was underwhelming at times.
The Germans, second in the FIFA rankings, had to face No. 4 Portugal in their opener of the Group of Death. They didn't budge, instead routing Portugal 4-0 in a match that was over before half-time.
From a hat-trick for Thomas Muller to constant offensive command from Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze, Germany were in control much of the 90 minutes. When Pepe drew a red card in the 37th minute with his side already down 2-0, it was all but over.
The Group of Death should still be daunting down the stretch, but it's hard to see the Germans failing to win it at this point. They play Ghana next, and should be able to overpower them quite easily. Six points through two matches could clinch them the group heading into a final match against the USA.
From then on, Germany will be a force to be reckoned with. Their talent alone should propel them to the semifinals, and if the offense continues to show up like it did against Portugal, they might run away with the whole thing.
It didn't take long for the 2014 World Cup to get its first shocking result and one that may end up significantly impacting the shape of the title race.
Spain and the Netherlands played a rematch of the 2010 final on Friday, the second day of action in Brazil, and the Dutch simply dominated the defending world champions 5-1 in a shocking display.
The Spanish led first when Xabi Alonso converted an early penalty kick, but the Dutch quickly fired back with a Robin van Persie goal just before half-time. Chance after chance for the Netherlands in the second half, coupled with several rare Iker Casillas gaffes in goal, propelled the Dutch to a stunning win.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque was quick to point out a sense of urgency for his team heading into the rest of the group stage, per Sky Sports:
There may be some changes. However, we don't want to rush into things. If I made a change, it wouldn't be to point the finger at someone. This is a short tournament and we would look to find the best solution.
It wouldn't be a bad idea for Spain to mix things up. They play Chile next, which steamrolled Australia 3-1 in their opener, and failing to win there would put Spain on the brink of elimination before the knockout stage even arrives.
Spain can't play well from behind, and the offense showed little explosiveness all match against the Dutch. Something might need to be mixed up to inject some life into the attack.
Of course, the Spanish went down to Switzerland in their 2010 opener and went on to win the whole thing. But this year is a different team, and they're in a much tougher group.
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