Does recent history throw up any clues for Russia 2018?
England have won the World Cup once before, famously securing the trophy back in 1966 with a 4-2 result over West Germany in London. 93,000 fans turned out at Wembley Stadium to watch history being made but what followed has been 52 years of hurt.
Is Gareth Southgate and his current pack of lions the team to end the drought? Bookmakers aren’t confident and after years of placing England among the favourites to win major competitions and being let down the money men are happy to oppose. Punters after a nice price runner will find 20/1 available on England winning Russia 2018.
The outright betting is dominated by Brazil and Germany who start as joint-favourites at 5/1 with Spain next in line at 13/2. We then have France 15/2, Argentina 10/1, Belgium 12/1 and England. More likely than the World Cup boarding a plane to London is Harry Kane ending as the tournament’s top scorer, but only just. Ladbrokes price the Tottenham striker at 16/1 to wear the golden boot in July.
That top goal scorer list is made up of the usual suspects with Messi favourite at 10/1, Neymar 12/1, Griezmann 13/1 and Ronaldo 14/1. The latter appeals if you fancy Portugal to put in a big effort.
England don’t need to win the tournament for you to profit as there’s a record breaking number of markets available on this summer’s footballing extravaganza. The stage of elimination betting allows you to predict when every nation will go home with the last 16 favourite at 11/5.
We take a look back at how the team have performed in each of the last two World Cups in a bid to help steer backers towards the value…..
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Time to prove their worth
A bit of a disaster for England and their fans. The team travelled to Brazil without too much support with the majority of those back home thinking the squad inexperienced and lacking in any real talent at the time. It was billed as a side for the future and a crop simply sent out to enjoy the occasion and pick-up valuable experience for future. They did get experience of what it means to play among the world’s elite, but it wasn’t too enjoyable.
England went home after just three games, ending bottom of Group D. Drawn alongside Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica they were expected to get through as runners up behind the Italians, but it didn’t go as planned with Costa Rica claiming the group thanks to two wins and a draw ahead of Uruguay’s two wins and a defeat. Italy were sent packing with just three points on the board, two more than England managed.
Starting with a 2-1 defeat vs Italy they followed that with a loss to Uruguay by the same score and that seemed to knock the stuffing out of the camp, ending goalless before slumping home. England’s challenge to last three games this summer is 13/2 – top price at 888Sport.
South African 2010
They had a slightly better time of it in South Africa without ever getting near the prize places. Drawn against USA, Slovenia and Algeria there wasn’t an awful lot to worry England, but they ended second in Group C on five points, level with winners USA who boasted two more goals scored.
Starting with a 1-1 draw vs Team America they then stumbled to a 0-0 finish with Algeria making the match with Slovenia a must win. 1-0 was the score in Port Elizabeth as the team snuck through to the next round where they lined-up against Germany. A savage 4-1 beating was dished out that day and it came as little surprise to supporters, although admittedly things might have panned out differently had Lampard’s “ghost” goal counted – it would have levelled it at 2-2 at the time.
Could England replicate that eight years on and see their challenge end at the round of 16? It’s possible and there’s 11/5 available if you fancy it but the way the draw works out if England have any kind of ambition they are more than capable of reaching the quarters before facing a genuine threat. Our best bet is the quarter-finals at William Hill’s 5/2.