Once you have checked out the eight nations competing in the 2017 Confederations Cup you will likely come up with the notion that Germany are going to walk it.
The hosts don’t have star quality or inspire confidence.
Cameroon, Australia, and New Zealand are surely out of their depth.
Long distance travellers Mexico and Chile can’t be rated much better than dark horses.
And Euro 2016 winners Portugal fluked it last summer, didn’t they? Not too many felt they were actually that good.
Personally, I’m not so sure they are such a dead cert.
On close inspection it’s apparent Germany coach Joachim Löw is treating this much-maligned mid-summer jamboree as a residential trials fortnight.
He wants a glimpse of the national team’s future, and if tinkering costs them a trophy, so be it.
Low has not selected a single player with over 30 caps. Thirteen of his squad own less than 10.
He’d like to win the competition, but it’s clearly not the only aim.
Rookies aren’t necessarily rubbish, of course – especially if they’re German – so there’s every chance this experimental injection of youth will spark an exciting set of performances.
Captain Julian Draxler can be their talisman (he’s a generous 28/1 to be top scorer), and keep your eye on Timo Werner as well. He’s a 13/2 shot to walk away with the Golden Boot.
In his last match the 21-year Leipzig striker was jeered by Germany fans who didn’t like him diving in a Bundesliga match last December (they clearly have long memories!) but he’s razor sharp, talented and eager to shine.
He arrives in Russia on the back of 21 Bundesliga goals.
A second string Germany could go all the way, but I don’t think they can be seen as a sure thing.
Chile are the nation most likely to qualify from Group B alongside the world champions, and they are 5/4 to top the pool.
Any side containing the brilliant Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal has to be taken seriously, but as an all-round unit they still have plenty of flaws.
Chile have also failed to win any of their last five World Cup qualifiers away from home, and don’t look as happy in the post-Bielsa era. There are too many question marks.
With Mexico and Russia likely to battle it out for second spot in Group B – but ultimately not good enough to go all the way – I see Euro 2016 winners Portugal as a genuine fancy to triumph.
OK, they weren’t too exciting en route to glory in France, but Fernando Santos has built an experienced team that’s very familiar with each other, and extraordinarily well drilled.
Plus they are getting better!
Since becoming European champions, two gems have emerged from the fringes; 22-year-old Bernardo Silva, who has just joined Manchester City from Monaco; and Andre Silva, a striker that’s recently been sold to AC Milan for big money from FC Porto. The 21-year-old hit man has netted seven goals in eight appearances for Portugal.
So with the sensational Cristiano Ronaldo (6/4 to be top scorer) showing no signs of slowing down his white-hot form, Portugal travelling with a full strength squad, and two gifted new boys on the scene, I can see them winning Group A at a canter (4/5) and possibly pinching the Confederations Cup itself. .
Cristiano Ronaldo is munching on so much silverware it’s frightening. Why stop here?
Confederations Cup Betting Odds
Confederations Cup Accas
Russia, Portugal and Chile to win: 15/4
Chile, Portugal and Germany to win: 4/1
For more football odds, take a look at Grosvenor Sport’s football betting.