What could England’s route to the World Cup Final look like?
England found themselves in the unusual position of seeing their odds shortened for World Cup glory (to 5/1) following the defeat to Belgium which left them second in Group G.
The view of our traders – and most England fans – is that Gareth Southgate’s side are in the easier half of the draw.
It all begins on Tuesday when the Three Lions face Colombia for the first time in 13 years. England have never lost in three meetings with Los Cafeteros, including a 3-2 victory at France ’98.
So, what does the picture look like if the Three Lions triumph again?
Potential Opponents: Sweden or Switzerland
While Switzerland are the more highly-rated of the pair – sitting sixth in the FIFA world rankings – past history suggests they might be England’s preferred choice.
The Swiss haven’t beaten England in the last nine meetings, dating back to 1995. Six of those have ended with Three Lions’ victories. And someone would have to triumph in this one…
As for the Swedes, their last competitive meeting with England came in Euro 2012, as a Danny Welbeck effort secured a 3-2 triumph for the latter in a crucial group stage clash.
The current crop surprised many by qualifying without the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but they’ve looked very solid in Russia thus far.
Potential Opponents: Russia or Croatia
Hosts Russia went into the tournament at a lowly 70th in the FIFA standings – making them the lowest-ranked side in the competition.
However, the backing of a passionate crowd and some energetic displays have seen them reach the quarter-finals for the first time since their 1970 WC run as the Soviet Union.
They drew 1-1 with England at the Euros two years ago, but both sides look significantly improved now.
As for Croatia, they could be the toughest potential test. As yet unbeaten, Luka Modric and co. have racked up a 3-0 defeat of Argentina along the way.
For now though, Southgate’s side will just be focused on doing the job against Colombia.
Click here for the latest World Cup odds.