World Cup 2018 Preview

Well, here we are again!

As some of you already know, we lost all the content from March 2013 but in some respects that was a blessing in disguise – it means we don’t have anything to refer to from the disastrous outings in the last two tournaments.

A bit like the England team itself in that case.

There are only five players in this squad that went to Brazil four years ago and so this is practically a brand new side – the veteran is Ashley Young, who is five months older than Gary Cahill despite having won 24 fewer caps – and the only teenager in the side is Trent Alexander-Arnold. This looks like a squad for the future, but time will tell.

That being said, England are currently 16/1 to win the whole thing – about right considering it’s been 12 years since we got to the quarter finals and 28 since the semi finals – but that’s a bigger price than both our Group G rivals Belgium and arguably the least impressive Argentinian side since 2002.

With all due respect to both Panama and Tunisia, for once I agree with both the bookies and the pundits: the group is been us and Belgium, but as we face the Red Devils last it may come down to who can score the most goals against Panama. The Belgians get first crack at that next Monday (BBC1, 4:00pm) before we take on Tunisia (BBC1, 7:00pm) so at least we’ll have an idea of what we need to achieve in our second game (against Panama, Sunday 24th June, BBC1, 1:00pm).

Goals are where the potential issues are: only Harry Kane and Danny Welbeck have scored more than ten goals in their international careers and – unlike previous tournaments – they aren’t going to get much help in that respect from the midfield. In some respects Kane is comparable to Romelu Lukaku – he’s two months younger and they have similar strike rates in international games – but we don’t have anyone like Kevin DeBruyne or even Marouane Fellaini behind them.

The other problem with Belgium might be familiarity. Eleven of the Belgian squad play in the Premier League and four of them belong to Spurs – that’s only one fewer Tottenham player than in the England squad. But it’s also worth remembering that since their fourth place finish in Mexico ’86, Belgium haven’t got past the second round in a European based World Cup Finals tournament since 1990. Here’s a reminder of the last time they got that far:

Assuming we do get out of Group G – and a draw with Belgium should probably be enough – our next opponents will be one of the qualifiers from Group H. That section has been widely predicted as the most open of all the groups this summer and I’d agree with that: although Colombia reached the second round in Italia 90, it’s been 36 years since Poland qualified from the group stage in a ‘European’ World Cup and neither Japan nor Senegal have ever done that. We could be in trouble if it’s Poland: they’ve been rated higher in than us in the ever reliable (!) FIFA rankings since February 2017 and although they’ve not beaten us for 45 years, records like that are made to be broken.

After that it’s anyone’s guess. As for predictions, I’d say that another unsuccessful trip to the quarter finals is probably on the cards but as long as the team performs at a better level than 2014 – not an unrealistic expectation – then the fans can be happy. A little bit of luck and we might even lose narrowly to the Germans yet again.

From a wider perspective, in the same way as winning the Champions League and the Premier League seem to have become competitions that only elite teams can win, I’m not expecting a ‘new’ name on the World Cup this summer.

However, it’s worth pointing out that no country has won consecutive titles since Brazil in 1962 and with some serious questions about the morale of the Germany squad following an ill advised photo session that featured Mezut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan with the Turkish PM, the Germans might not retain their title.

Spain – who sacked their manager yesterday – have a dreadful record in European based tournaments and despite been written off, Argentina actually have a slightly better record than Brazil do when playing in European World Cups.

Like most of us, I’ll probably have a much better idea of who might win the whole thing in a couple of weeks time but the two teams I’ll be following are Brazil and France: the former because they have a point to prove after their disastrous semi final four years ago and the latter because – on paper at least – they have the talent to compete with the Latin Americans. The question with the French is whether Didier Deschamps can utilise that talent effectively.

Finally for now, here are a few games that could be worth following:

Potential Upset: Russia v Egypt (Tuesday June 19th, BBC 1, 7:00pm BBC1)

I know FIFA rankings can be a bit odd, but Egypt overtook Russia in June 2016 and even though it was against the Soviet Union, the Egyptians won their only previous meeting back in June 1991. I also think there’s the possibility of a surprise result in the game between Argentina and Iceland (Saturday, 7pm ITV) but that may be along the lines of Argentina not winning.

England’s possible next opponents: Poland v Colombia (Sunday June 24th, ITV, 7:00pm) 

Four hours or so after England v Panama finishes so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Best game between two sides that may not qualify for The Round Of Sixteen:

Australia v Peru (Monday June 26th, ITV 3:00pm)

The assumption is that France and Denmark will qualify from Group B, but if anything upsets that plan then both of these teams might need to win to qualify for the next round: this pair are suspect defensively so there might be a few goals in a game that features two very colourful kits.

Most entertaining triple header: Wednesday 27th June

South Korea v Germany (BBC, 3:00pm, BBC)

Mexico v Sweden (BBC2, 3:00pm)

Brazil v Serbia (ITV, 7:00pm)

Brazil and Germany finish their group games on the same day. Although both of them should have qualified for the The Round of Sixteen, Serbia might need a point or three to join them. If South Korea v Germany starts getting out of hand, turn over to Mexico v Sweden on BBC2 because that’s probably going to be the game that settles the runners up in Group F.

Next scheduled post: a preview of England v Tunisia, which will be up at some point on Monday! Euro 2012 Betting Tips: Germany To Lift The Trophy, Spain To Disappoint

Spain are missing key men upfront and Germany look a real force ahead of Euro 2012 tournament. Ethan Rowe, tipster, explains why you shouldn’t put your money elsewhere.

All attention is now on the knockout stages of Euro 2012. After the group stage at we looked at the form of key players that are still in the tournament to try to understand earlier than bookmakers which side will lift the trophy 1st July in Kiev. If you expect yet another Spanish victory than you may be disappointed as this tournament may be more of an end of season siesta for the reigning champions.

Vicente Del Bosque’s will take on France in the quarter final and I have the feeling this could be the end of their campaign. With a few exceptions, such as Juan Mata and Torres the bulk of Spain’s squad is made of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid. Both teams have been battling on a multitude of fronts this season and those players have been involved on average on 60 official games since last August. They didn’t perform brilliantly in the group stage and although they finished first they struggled with both Italy and Croatia.

Laurent Blanc’s France have what it takes to beat them and progress to the semi-finals. I must admit their last match against Sweden wasn’t great viewing but they had already qualified and the feeling was that they were too relaxed. I don’t think that was the French side that will play against Spain: they came into this tournament with a 21 game unbeaten run and they will be keen to prove that they are up with the big boys again. Compared with the last World Cup they are a rejuvenated team that can also count on a few elements that have the necessary experience to help the squad in difficult moments.

The main weakness for France is in defence but considering that Spain will probably play without a striker, this may not have such an impact in the game.

Del Bosque’s have a series of selection issues that will be keeping him awake at night: the absence of Spain’s all-time goalscorer David Villa who broke his leg back in December is having a massive impact on the squad that have struggle to score in the two most challenging group stage encounters. Strangely, the experienced coach made a huge mistake by not including Roberto Soldado in the squad and they may pay the consequences of this in the next match.

So even with injuries Spain still remain a threatening team but the reason why I think they will fail is that they are tired and key players have already won everything and the feeling is that they would rather be on holiday than play yet another tournament.

Meanwhile, second favourites Germany look a real value to me at 4.30. They were in impressive in South Africa and since then they have only grown in experience and quality.

England will probably face Germany in the semi-finals if they can beat the Azzurri. Following England’s qualification for the quarter-finals there has been the usual wave of patriotic punting in support of the team. I am a tipster and although I’m the same as everyone else in wanting an England win, I also need to objectively analyse the real chances of success. As always the England fans and media have been too quick to applaud Roy Hodgson’s men. Let’s be honest: they have been lucky to get this far and I don’t think they are equipped to get past Germany. I think a semi-final will be a good result considering the circumstances before this tournament: I’d like to be wrong but Germany are much stronger.

Having said that, I don’t think we will get hammered the same way as we did two years ago, but we cannot simply rely on Gerrard crossing the ball upfront hoping that Rooney’s new hair will be ruined! The Germans could have an easy route to the final, where they could meet either France or Portugal. The Portuguese cannot be underestimated – they kept the Germans at bay for nearly 90 minutes – and should reach the next round easily and they should have a decent chance against the French or Spanish.

At we provide the best football betting tips on every Euro 2012 quarter-final match. We use a mixture of experience and data and this is the reason why our winning rate is around 75% – much higher than any other serious tipping site on internet.  We also have a close relationship with top bookmakers and we are able to negotiate exclusive free bets and money back promotions so make sure you visit us daily during the tournament.

Five Euro 2012 Predictions For England

Guest blogger Richard Smith of polishes his crystal ball and takes a look at some of the England markets available for punters before the start of the tournament.

With the threat of a smear campaign being launched against England’s new boss, Roy Hodgson, after he ignored the squad selection claims of Rio Ferdinand, England head to the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine already under pressure.

The beauty of Hodgson however is that he is very broad shouldered and has an uncanny ability to fend off negatives and concentrate solely on the positives. He was not every England fans idea of the next national team manager but he made it very clear that he he wanted the job more than anything else. This is clearly a trait that confirms that Roy Hodgson is a man who is prepared to stand up and be counted!

The performances of his England side at Euro 2012 will undoubtedly be the yardstick from which he is judged by the FA, the media or the fans. A good tournament and he will be a hero a bad one he’s a failure and will be facing an up hill battle come the start of the World Cup qualifiers in September.

All that said, what can Hodgson and the England team achieve at Euro 2012? What actually would be regarded as abject failure, modest failure or better still, success?

Here are five bold predictions for the fate of England at Euro 2012:

  1. England will open their campaign with a scoreless draw against France, a result that should help enormously in qualifying from Group D and into the knock out stages. The two friendlies for which Hodgson has been in charge against Norway and Belgium has seen the side put up solid defensive performances  and that can continue.
  2. England will defeat both Ukraine and Sweden in Group D but will only finish in second place behind France. “Les Bleus” will also win their other two games in the group but will finish above England with a slightly better goal difference. England and France will therefore qualify to meet either Italy or Spain in the Quarter Finals.
  3. England will be eliminated at the Quarter Final stages of the tournament by Spain. Whilst the draw for the group was kind to England, the fact they will play a team from Group C in the Quarter Final was not so kind and with Spain likely to top that group, it is likely that the last eight will be where England’s European Championship hopes come to an end.
  4. England will score a total of just three goals in four matches played. They will beat both Ukraine and Sweden by 1-0 and lose by 2-1 in the Quarter final. England can be backed to defeat Sweden 1-0 at 11/2 via Paddy Power and at 6/1 to defeat Ukraine by the same scoreline. England to score 4 goals or less in the tournament can be backed with Coral with odds of 11/8.
  5. England’s three goalscorers will be Danny Welbeck, who will score against Sweden, Wayne Rooney, who will hit the winner against Ukraine on his return from suspension and Steven Gerrard who will score in the Quarter final.

Euro 2012 has got to be the first tournament in many years where England go in with little to no expectations from the fans or media. Bookmakers have reported nowhere near as much support for England as in years gone by and odds of 14/1 to win a tournament are much bigger than they would normally be. Fans with “blind faith” may even suggest that the lack of expectation could well work in the team’s favour but in reality it’s difficult to get excited about the current team.

What Impact Can Ashley Young Have On Euro 2012?

Thomas Rooney takes a look at the goalscorer markets before Euro 2012 begins…

England kick off their European Champions on the 11th of June against France and they will need to be at their best to take all three points.

Those over at note how Ashley Young looks to be one of EnglandÂ’s biggest threats and the man who could set the tournament alight, especially with the suspension of Wayne Rooney for the first two matches.

Young was the goal scorer in the 1-0 victory over Norway in Oslo on Saturday, it was a moment of quality that brought the goal as the attacker went past his man with ease and placed the ball in the bottom corner extremely confidently.

The 26-year-old is certainly a threat with his raw pace and his ability to cut inside from the left wing and get a shot away. However, he looks like he may be playing a more central role in Euro 2012, lining up just behind Andy Carroll. They linked up well in the game over the weekend and seemed to have a real understanding with one another.

The Manchester United man has scored four goals in as many games in his recent appearances for The Three Lions, form that has gone under the radar somewhat. He also found the net six times for his club this campaign.

When Rooney does come back into the team, those assessing the top goalscorer over at  note how Young will be lining up with a teammate that he has enjoyed a lot of success with this year.

After a substantial spell on the sideline for The Red Devils earlier in the season, keeping up with the demands of tournament football could be difficult for the former Aston Villa man to do.

There is not a great deal of pressure on Young either which could play into his favour. Many people will be looking at the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin Van Persie and Mario Gomez to light up the tournament so he could surprise a few people.

If the Stevenage born winger plays to his full potential and players around him are on form he could cause opponents a lot of trouble and take England far in the tournament this summer.

Hodgson Backed To Succeed By Baggies Assistant

Regular contributor Thomas Rooney shares a few thoughts about Roy Hodgson…

Much has been discussed about new England manager Roy Hodgson. Some disagree with the decision to appoint him, others believe he is the perfect man for the job.

One thing that cannot be underestimated as far as the Euro 2012 Odds are concerned is how well West Brom have handled the situation though. They have worked well with the FA and ensured a smooth transition for their manager to move on now that the domestic season is over.

Even Hodgson’Â’s West Brom assistant – Keith Downing – has praised the Baggies boss for his career move, saying that he can be a better candidate for England than the previous favourite for the job, Harry Redknapp.

The Baggies assistant said: “

‘There was a mass public demand for Harry and rightly so. Roy’s work has been really intense. He’s been very focused. His job has been equally impressive.”

“’He’s kept this club up and established it as a Premier League side. And he did that at Fulham. His CV is excellent and he should be considered”

‘“I just hope people will give him the opportunity, though I know it’s the toughest job in the world. Let’s see how he does. The low expectancy might help him.”

‘Roy is his own man and he’ll make the players realise what he wants to do, and they will adhere to it.

“He’s got a wealth of stories: Inter Milan, Switzerland, Malmo. We do sometimes had a chuckle. He’s dealt with some big players and his CV is fantastic.”

‘“There’s a warmth about him, and it’s not just football, football. He has an interest in your family life and how things are going. He’s a fascinating man and a lot of the players enjoy his company. He’s interested in people.”’

England will certainly hope that they have made the right choice, but it is clear that Hodgson gets huge respect from the people he works with. If this continues with England, he has a good chance of a decent Euro 2012 tournament and people might start looking at the England Euro 2012 Odds and wondering if the current price is a bit too big.

The likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have leant their support to Hodgson too and this is important for the England boss. He needs the support of the senior players, much like Roberto Di Matteo has done at Chelsea – and we saw how well that worked on Saturday evening!

Hodgson Faces Key Decisions On Captain, Strikers.

Roy Hodgson will be naming the England squad for Euro 2012 on Wednesday – and so Thomas Rooney takes a look at some of the candidates for the crucial positions: team captain and goal scoring options another than the Spud Faced Nipper.

With the European Championships just round the corner, there lots of talk as ever about who should be given the captain’s armband for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

Scott Parker is amongst favourites amongst punters looking to trade using this back to lay calculator to lead the side out for the Championships. Parker has been one of the best English players in the Premier League this season and his knack of avoiding controversy means he may be the ideal candidate.

The Tottenham midfielder has only made eleven caps for his country but with his form this campaign will surely be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Parker has made 28 appearances for Spurs this season, despite not getting himself on the score-sheet he has been instrumental for his team when he has played and really seems to make them tick.

The ex-West Ham United man is vital to making sure the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon can get forward as much as possible, filling in the gaps they leave when attacking.

This would be the role he would play for the England side who will want to use the pace of the likes of Ashley Young, Theo Walcott, Lennon and Adam Johnson a lot throughout the tournament.

Parker will be the player to hold the midfield together and make England play in the same way he does for his club.

Other candidates as far as those over at best betting sites are concerned include Joe Hart. The Manchester City man would also be a decent choice as he looks certain to be England’Â’s number one for the foreseeable future: he’s also a very vocal player and being a goalkeeper, can see the whole game.

England require a leader on the pitch, someone to set an example to the rest of the players and drive the team on. Parker is the perfect man for this role in the team, with Hart as vice captain.

Moving onto attacking options, it’ll be interesting to see if Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is fit for the European Championships this summer after an injury that has kept him out of action since February. If Bent is fit, should Roy Hodgson include him in his squad?

In Bent, England have one of the best finishers the Premier League has seen in recent years. His goals seem to go under the radar sometimes and apart from a slight dip at Tottenham, he has scored regularly wherever he has played.

However at Spurs, he did manage 18 goals in sixty appearances, which is not too bad for the worst goal scoring form of his career. So it should be interesting to see what price Bent is for the Golden Boot in the 2012 euro betting odds.

The Englishman had scored nine times in the Premier League this campaign until he was injured in a game against Wigan, it’s quite safe to say Aston Villa would not find themselves as low down the table as they are if they had a fit Darren Bent at the disposal for the whole season.

The former Sunderland striker is an old fashioned goal poacher, he may only touch the ball a few times in the game but ends up scoring two goals and winning his team the game.

The England side does not have a great deal of players similar to Bent, someone whose sole purpose is to find the back of the net. The other option could be Jermaine Defoe, although he has spent the majority of the season coming off the bench so may be suited to that role during the summer.

If the 28-year-old is fully fit he could be the ideal partner for Wayne Rooney in the later stages of the tournament, he also capable of playing up front on his own during Rooney’s suspension in the first two matches.

Bent and Rooney should go to Euros as the Three Lions two main strikers, with Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch and Daniel Sturridge all waiting in the wings. This front line includes height, pace, strength, skill and finishing – a winning formula.

Update: Hodgson has made one interesting decision today – Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville joins the coaching staff with immediate effect.

Managerial Uncertainty Makes England’s Euro 2012 Odds Look Unappealing

With only a few weeks left to go in the domestic football season, it’s only a couple of months until the start of Euro 2012 and it’s officially time to start our coverage. Who better to kick it off that regular contributor Richard Smith: Richard takes a look at some of the prices on offer for an English success in the tournament…and rapidly comes to the same conclusion as any sane bettor would.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding who will be the manager of the Englandteam at Euro 2012,  bookmakers are getting into full swing by offering a host of betting markets on how theEnglandteam and players will fare at the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

In the betting to win Euro 2012 outright,England are rated as the fourth favourites with most major bookies offering just 9/1. This price is influenced by the weight of the “patriotic pound” that will either have already been wagered or in anticipation from the betting companies but when both France and Italy are priced at 14/1, it is difficult to rate England as “value” and 9/1 is unappealing but nonetheless, loyal fans of the Three Lions will invariably back the team to win the tournament with nothing more than blind faith as the reason.

If England qualify from Group D, a Quarter Final match against either Spain or Italy is likely to await them and if it is Spain, then prospects of progressing really do look bleak.

Spain are expected to win Group C, so to ensure a last eight tie against the runner up in Group C, which is most likely to be Italy, then England will need to win Group D. Should this be the case there is no guarantee that England could or even should defeat Italy, a game in which the Italians would likely be favourites to win but would be considered more “winnable” than if having to face Spain.

In all honesty, any punter thinking with their head would probably resist from backing the Three Lions in the Outright win market, especially with no permanent England manager yet appointed which must impact on preparations, potential squad selection, tactics and opponent analysis . However, if you’re betting with your heart, it’ll be a question of how much to put on England in the hope that Harry Redknapp is appointed at the end of the season and the moral boost from that would be enough to result in a fairytale ending!

Englandto be eliminated at the Quarter Final Stage at odds of 13/8 is proabbly the most likely outcome at this stage!

As far as Group D is concerned, most pundits are predicting an England and France one-two. England are the narrow 13/8 favourites to win the group with France a 7/4 chance, co-hosts Ukraine come next at 9/2 while underdogs Sweden are 11/2.

The key to the Group probably lies in the opening game between England and France on 11th June. France have been transformed under new Head Coach Laurent Blanc, losing only twice in the twenty matches he has been at the helm and one of those was his very first game in charge when he fielded a weakened team following the fallout and suspensions on the back of the 2010 World Cup debacle. They qualified comfortably from their Euro2012 Qualification Group losing just once in their ten qualification games and have since secured “friendly” wins over the USA and more impressively Germany. The French clearly will be no pushover!

England of course qualified unbeaten from their Group and have secured recent wins over Sweden and Spain. However, with Fabio Capello no longer in charge, it has left a number of doubts surrounding the team at a critical time and with no manager yet appointed and the France game fast approaching, the situation looks bleak.

Backing England to top Group D therefore now looks a little dangerous, France have the momentum and as such, could get the better of England in the Group D opener, which would leave England with two difficult remaining games against Ukraine and Sweden but ones where they should be good enough to get the results to qualify in second spot, whoever is selecting the team and tactics! Therefore, a France to finish top, England runners up straight forecast bet at 7/2 looks the best pick of the group markets involving England.

A lot can happen between now and England’s opening game in Donetsk but as it stands, without a permanent manager it is difficult to be optimistic. Stuart Pearce is more than capable of leading the troops but how far in to battle can he take them? It will certainly be an interesting few weeks in between the end of the domestic season and start of the Euros and an even more interesting couple of weeks in Poland and the Ukraine!