Spain installed as early favourites

LONDON - European champions Spain were installed as World Cup favourites on Friday after the draw was made for next year's finals in South Africa.

British bookmakers William Hill had Spain at odds of 4-1 to lift the trophy, with England second best at 5-1 after Fabio Capello's side were handed a favourable draw.

Spain will play Honduras, Chile and Switzerland in Group H while England are in Group C with United States, Algeria and Slovenia.

Brazil are third favourites at 11-2 after the five-times champions landed a tough group alongside Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea.

Spain strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa, at 9-1, are joint favourites to be top scorer.

The finals are expected to break the one billion pounds barrier in British betting turnover, according to a William Hill spokesman.

"The last World Cup came close to producing a one billion pounds turnover but we have no doubt the 2010 tournament will smash through the barrier and go well beyond," Graham Sharpe said in a news release.

"The excitement and interest surrounding the tournament is at an all-time high and it looks the most open World Cup for many years."