Dubai: Italy and Brazil are the only teams to have successfully defended their title in the modern history of the Fifa World Cup, but international betting trends are strongly leaning towards reigning champions Germany becoming the third country to pull off the feat.

Italy triumphed in 1934 and 1938 while Brazil won the coveted trophy in 1958 and 1962. However, since Mexico 1986 — the start of the modern era — no nation has done it again.

It is proven that the Fifa World Cup is one of the biggest betting events in the world, with millions of football fans indulging in a hosts of exciting betting options that include — team to reach the final, highest scoring team, best Asian team, continent of winner, lowest scoring team etc.

And so, with less than 48 hours remaining before the first ball is kicked in Moscow when outsiders Saudi Arabia (Odds 1000/1) take on hosts Russia (50/1), the multiple markets are enjoying a flurry of activity.

Germany (5/1) are vying for favouritism with Brazil (4/1) and are followed by previous winners — Spain (6/1), France (7/1) and Argentina (10/1).

One of the most popular bets is who will be topscorer during the June 14-July 15 extravaganza. Brazil’s pin-up boy, Neymar heads the exchanges at odds of 11/1 and is followed by Spaniard Diego Costa (30/1).

France’s exciting teen striker, Kylian Mbappe, is very much on the betting radar as is Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku. The list goes on.

National pride is not the only thing that’s at stake in Russia but monetary gains as well as bettors from every corner of the planet will be looking to make a fast buck, or in some cases, a fortune.