MUMBAI - Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri on the weekend picked hosts and five-time champions Brazil and fellow South American two-time winners Argentina as the teams fancied to lift the glittering FIFA World Cup this year.
"Because it's happening in South America, Brazil and Argentina are favourites. But you can never bet against teams like Germany and Spain, the current world champions. Uruguay are the dark horses. These five teams are going to be very strong," said Chhetri at a Nike promotional event here.
The World Cup is slated from June 12-July 13 in Brazil.
Chhetri said he based his calculation on the fact that European teams had traditionally not performed very well outside the continent.
"Home advantage serves especially when you play in a different climate zone. It really matters as a lot of European teams have not performed that well when they have gone out of Europe. A lot of big tournaments happen in Europe and they are used to European conditions," Chhetri explained.
"It's not going to be same in South America and that's why teams from South America are going to be very strong, especially Brazil who will be playing at home."
Chhetri is a supporter of Barcelona and follower of Spain. "I am a Spain follower because I like Barcelona."
About India's chances in football in the September 19-October 4 Asian Games, the 29-year-old striker said it all depended on the sort of preparation the team would have ahead of the multi-discipline extravaganza in Incheon, South Korea.
"It all depends on the kind of preparation we have. Thankfully, we have a three-month long camp.
"We are just hoping we can have a combined team with no injuries. We will do our best though I can't say where we will finish. It's a very important tournament for us."
Men's football is to start five days before the official opening of the Games and involves 32 teams.