World-Cup---Football---v2The 2018 FIFA World Cup is just over three weeks away and with Gareth Southgate’s England squad meeting for the first time since the final list was announced, now is a good time to look at some England specific World Cup bets, as we look forward to the thirlls, spills and disappoints to come in Russia.


PROMISE AND EXPECTIONS


England have been in strong form overall under Gareth Southgate, even if they have not been necessarily “impressive”. In the sixteen games played, they have won eight and drawn six, scoring twenty-three and conceding just ten goals,

Southgate has looked to play to the sides strengths of pace and power, with Raheem Sterling especially starting to show his Man City form in Three Lions colours, but its in defence that England have looked excellent, with just one goal conceded in four matches against Brazil, Germany, Holland and Italy, something that any international side would be proud of.


England go to Russia with a great draw that should not pose any major issues for progression to the knock-out stage. First opponents Tunisia are a solid side with former Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri a leading figure. Panama enter their first ever finals and despite the euphoria of their feat, a recent 6-0 loss to Switzerland has shown the reality of their task.

The main focus will be on the final Group G game against Belgium, with plenty of familiarity between the sides, from manager Roberto Martinez to the plethora of Premier League stars on display. The top two of the group will match up against the top two of Group H, with the second round potentially seeing games against either Poland, Colombia, Japan or Senegal.


ENGLAND BETTING


Belgium are narrow favourites to top the group, with England at 13/10. Initially that looks like good value, but if both sides finish with seven points which looks feasible, I don’t see England’s goal difference being better. So a Belgium / England straight forecast at 6/5 looks bang on as I expect Belgium to win the head to head, with a Total Group Points bet of Six at 5/2 also worth backing for Gareth Southgate’s side.

As mentioned above, the likelihood is a draw against either Poland or Colombia in the second round, which are both extremely tough, but winnable matches and if results were to go as expected, a potential Germany or Brazil quarter-final would follow. Realistically a quarter-final looks as good as it could get for the Three Lions and the 21/10 available on a quarter-final Stage Of Elimination bet looks the better option for me.

Lastly, England Top Scorer betting looks a shoe-in for Harry Kane at 7/5, with the Tottenham front man expected to lead the line throughout the tournament. He has been a little off form since coming back from injury, but a brace in the last game against Leicester City will have boosted confidence and I just don’t see any other player getting close to him. Kane is also 12/1 for World Cup Golden Boot, which could be worth an each-way shout if he finds his shooting boots in Russia.


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