We are now days away from the start of the footballing spectacular that is the FIFA World Cup, and we couldn’t be more excited if we tried. With the tournament in view, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at some breaking news that could prove crucial to your World Cup betting plans.

The feast of football takes place every four years and is always an event that attracts immense attention. The competition is the most watched sporting occasion in the world, and that translates to a great deal of betting action.

Many of the top bookmakers look to sweeten the deal with free World Cup bets offered, and the World Cup betting odds fluctuate widely, so it’s always best to make sure that the football betting site you select to place your bets is one that offers the most lucrative payout. 

Luis Enrique Announces World Cup Squad

Since winning their first World Cup crown back in 2010, the Spanish national team has struggled to make a real impact on the tournament. In 2014 they were eliminated in the group stage, and four years later, in Russia, they were dumped out in the Round of 16 by the hosts on penalties.

Luis Enrique will be hoping for a whole lot more from his squad this time around, and they are considered by many to be among the favourites, sitting in fifth place on the FIFA World Cup betting odds rankings with most bookies.

Enrique has opted to leave veteran PSG centre-back Sergio Ramos, who holds the national team record for caps (180). Still, that decision seems even less surprising than the omission of Liverpool’s cultured midfielder Thiago. 

The 31-year-old, who has 46 caps to his name, hasn’t played for La Roja since 2020 (though he was called up for their recent match with Portugal in June, only to suffer an injury). 

Five Premier League stars have made the cut, with keepers David Raya and Robert Sanchez of Brentford and Brighton, respectively, Aymeric Laporte and Rodri from Man City and veteran Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta all included in Enrique’s final 26.

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Club), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford FC)

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea FC), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (FC Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia CF), Pau Torres (Villarreal CF), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia CF)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City), Gavi (FC Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris St Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico de Madrid), Pedri Gonzalez (FC Barcelona), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico de Madrid)

Forwards: Ferran Torres (FC Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal CF), Alvaro Morata (Atletico de Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (Paris St Germain), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona)

Dutch Squad Named

Veteran Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, in his third spell in charge of the Oranje, has named his final squad for the Qatar finals. In-form Newcastle United defender Sven Botman didn’t make the cut, and likewise, exciting Bayern Munich attacker Ryan Gravenbach will have to watch the action from home.

The Netherlands will face hosts Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal in Group A and are considered a dark horse for the tournament and have a strong squad that is a nice mix of enthralling youthful talents, like PSV Eindhoven’s Xavi Simons and experienced campaigners like Barcelona’s Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong. 

Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Remko Pasveer (Ajax), Andries Noppert (sc Heerenveen)

Defenders: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Nathan Aké (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Jurriën Timber (Ajax) Denzel Dumfries (Internazionale), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Mathijs de Ligt (Bayern München), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta Bergamo), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Marten de Roon (Atalanta Bergamo), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax), Xavi Simons (PSV)

Forwards: Memphis Depay (FC Barcelona), Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Vincent Janssen (Royal Antwerp FC), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Noa Lang (Club Brugge), Wout Weghorst (Beşiktaş JK)

Former England Great Selects Dream Trio

Former England international and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has spoken of his desire to see Gareth Southgate name a front three consisting of national team captain Harry Kane and young wingers Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka, an attack that would certainly cause all sorts of headaches for World Cup defences. 

‘Foden, Saka and obviously Harry Kane. Saka has been fantastic again this season for Arsenal,’

‘I think Phil Foden is the best player we’ve got, technically. His form for England hasn’t been as good as it has been for Manchester City, but you just hope he brings his form into the World Cup.’  

‘You’ve got the likes of [Marcus] Rashford and Sterling to come on and have an impact.’ 

Rooney, who manages MLS side DC United, then went on to name a full starting XI with Jordan Pickford in goal, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luke Shaw as full-backs and John Stones alongside Harry Maguire in the centre of the England defence.

He’d then field West Ham’s Declan Rice and Man City’s Kalvin Phillips as his central midfielders and have Jude Bellingham in a number 10 role behind his front three. It’s an XI that most fans would agree with, though perhaps the poor form shown by Man United duo Maguire and Shaw would rankle with some Three Lions fans.