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May the best team win

Posted June 14th, 2018, 10:08 AM IST

May the best team win

Chennai football fans are convinced Brazil’s time has come. They are willing to wager on their favourite team going on to win the coveted Jules Rimet trophy or World Cup. They are convinced that Neymar is fully fit now and that the rest has done him good, He will be carrying the hopes of his nation’s 200 million people. Bookmakers have also shortened the odds on Brazil, making the country the favourite at 4-1.

“I believe Brazil are gonna win the World Cup in Russia as they look good and confident going into the tournament compared to other teams. And also, I feel this is their golden generation and a team which can win the cup after the team which won the 2002 World Cup. There’s talent everywhere in the team, and this is Neymar’s oppurtunity to show his talent at the World’s biggest stage. The bonding between the team is really special and they are a family. So Brazil definitely are worthy of lighting the cup this year,” says committed football fan Arjun Athreya.

Defending champions Germany do not seem to have too much support in the city although they were the ones who humbled Brazil in Brazil four years ago routing them 7-1 on their home turf. Fans believe that the time for revenge has come and that Brazil will pull out all stops to avenge the humiliation. Germany, who were the last to arrive in Russia, are seen to be in a bit of disarray due to injuries and have also showed very little form in warm-up games.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus have a huge number of fans as far afield as Chennai. But then there are different shades of opinion here about the global game. “Being a Real Madrid fan my favourites are Spain (Espanol) and Portugal. Spain is having a good run with young guns and most of Madrid and Barcelona players and I’m also supporting Portugal for everyone’s favourite Cristiano Ronaldo who helped his team conquer the Euro 16”, says Shiva. It would be fantastic for fans of Cr7 if he were to carry his nation all the way in the World Cup after his dazzling Euro 16 form.

Chennai is filled with those who will plump for Lionel Messi anytime because of his sheer football skills. Like Ronaldo, he too has to carry the burden of expectation. It might well be a last World Cup for the two super heroes and multimillionaires of the game and they are not the type to leave without making the best effort for an imprint on the game’s history. While bookies make Argentina only fifth favourite behind Brazil (4-1), Germany (4.5 to 1), Spain (6-1) and France (6.5 to 1), the odds on a Portugal victory are luscious at 25-1.

“The odds are a reflection of estimation of team capabilities. Individual brilliance is different and it gladdens the hearts of fans like me. That is why I prefer to cheer the teams of all my favourites like Ronaldo and Messi,” says Nirmal Singh. Many like Singh are planning to visit pubs to catch the action live on big screens with friends on the days the big matches come up.

“Being a follower of the premier league (EPL) it’s obvious that I am an England supporter. It is said that they are not among the favourites to win, but I believe that it is England’s year as there is a good chemistry in the team talented players in every position. In depth, the team is one of the best in the tournament and has very young players like Harry Kane and Sterling who will carry the form of a brilliant home season with them and they will surely be impact players. We can expect a ‘1966’ this year,” says Leo.

If anyone puts in a wager on England with the Chennai bookie or goes international on the web, he can expect to get 16-1 on the team. A lot of fun and games are on the cards for Chennai footie fans who will enjoy their tipple, their wagers and their arguments too, as the big event begins.