England are 33/1 at BetVictor to lift the World Cup in Rio on Sunday July 13th with punters shunning the chances of the Three Lions in the run up to our opening game against Italy in Manaus on June 14th.
Manager Roy Hodgson has gone on record as saying his young side can become the first European side to win the World Cup on South American soil and, after a number of Major Tournament disappointments, could the Class of 2014 belie their current odds?
As well as an experienced Azzurri England will meet Uruguay in Sao Paulo before finishing their Group campaign against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte the scene back in 1950 of, arguably, England’s most embarrassing football defeat when they were beaten 1-0 by the part-timers of the United States.
The draw could have been kinder to Hodgson’s young Lions but we think they will make it into the knock out stages and, after that, who knows? We have a market on England’s stage of elimination and bet:
Group Stage 6/5
Last 16 11/4
Quarter Final 4/1
Runners Up 20/1
Remember if England get out of the Group Stages they will play one of the Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece or Colombia in the round of the last sixteen and it would be wrong to describe any of those four nations as being footballing superpowers.
Wayne Rooney has never scored in the World Cup Finals but is 5/2 to be the leading England goalscorer in the tournament although we have taken as many bets on no England goalscorer in Brazil at 25/1 as we have on the Manchester United striker at 5/2! Rooney is 4/11 to break his Finals duck and 2/1 to have a barren time in Brazil.
The Liverpool pair of Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard are next on the list at 3/1 and 10/1 respectively and the former makes plenty of appeal having scored 21 times in just 26 starts in the Premier League last season for the Reds. Yes it helped that he played with Luis Suarez, reported to be winning his battle to be fit for Group rivals Uruguay after minor knee surgery, in a very offensive Liverpool side but he looked as if he had finally found a Club he could call home having had too nomadic an existence in his formative career.
England are 5/1 NOT to win a game in Brazil and, again, this has been quite popular although Costa Rica must do without Everton’s Bryan Oviedo who has failed to recover from a broken leg suffered in an FA Cup tie against Stevenage back in January. It will be a huge disappointment if Hodgson’s men, whatever the outcome of the first couple of games in the Group, weren’t able to see off the Ticos in their last Group clash.
If you think of England and Major Football tournaments then the words missed penalty immediately spring to mind and Hodgson’s men are 8/1 to exit the tournament following spot kicks. The Three Lions have won just one of their seven previous penalty shoot-outs in Major competitions and David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and, more famously, Stuart Pearce, Gareth Southgate and Chris Waddle have all missed from the spot in shoot-outs.
The England Under 17’s beat the Netherlands on spot kicks in the Final of the European Championships in Malta recently and perhaps the hoodoo is at an end?
First up for England is four-time tournament winners Italy and there is a train of thought that a draw would suit both nations. Azzuri coach Cesare Prandelli insists, however, they will be going all out for the win but do remember that Spain lost their first game in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (to Switzerland) before going on to lift the Trophy.
England are 2/1 to begin their challenge with a win with Italy 8/5 favourites and the draw also at 2/1 at BetVictor. We will be offering money back as a free bet on selected markets if a penalty is scored in the game and it promises to be tight and tense. I think Roy Hodgson would take a draw now and we bet 11/2 the game finishes 1-1 and that is the recommendation.
If England are to do well in Brazil then Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard must have big tournaments but their combative natures mean they are both likely to be in trouble with referees and both have been well supported in our market for which England player will pick up the most booking points. Note this is 10 points for a yellow card and 25 to see red.
If Jack Wilshere starts, and we should know more about Hodgson’s thinking after the forthcoming friendlies, then the 14/1 for the Gunners’ midfielder would be far too big but I want a player who is likely to start every game, has a bit of bite about him and can be backed at 100/1. Step forward Daniel Sturridge.
The Reds’ striker only picked up two yellow cards last season in the Premier League but if, as I expect, he starts up front against both Italy and Uruguay he might come in for some pretty rough treatment and if he retaliates? One thing’s for sure he shouldn’t be a 100/1 shot.
The Brains Trust in the BetVictor office have named their starting England XI against Italy and we have come up with:
Johnson Cahill Jagielka Baines
Sterling Rooney Welbeck
But how many of the BetVictor XI will be in Roy Hodgson’s side against Italy?
Over 8 5/4
Under 8 6/4
Exactly 8 3/1
We will have everything covered in Brazil and, like everyone else, can’t wait for the action to begin. Can England do it? Probably not but I expect, arguably, the heart to rule the head and don’t expect the Three Lions to still be 33/1 when they line up against Italy next month if they impress in their pre-tournament friendlies against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras.
The action begins with hosts and 3/1 tournament favourites Brazil entertaining Croatia on June 12th.
The waiting is almost over.