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When is a defeat not a defeat? Perhaps when it gives you a better chance of winning the World Cup. That’s the situation England find themselves in having lost against Belgium in their final match of Group G.
Gareth Southgate’s decision to make eight changes to the team in Kaliningrad backfired somewhat as they lost 1-0 to a similarly second string Belgium team but finishing second does leave England in what most people believe to be the best half of the draw. That stroke of good luck will be for nothing though if England cannot navigate a path past Colombia in their round of 16 tie on Tuesday.
Despite finishing top of Group H, Colombia haven’t exactly caught the eye so far. Jose Pekerman’s men lost their opener against Japan before putting a poor Poland side to the sword 3-0 and just about holding on for a 1-0 win over Senegal. The news that the talismanic James Rodriguez is unlikely to be fit makes life that bit more difficult for Colombia so could this finally be when England when a first knockout stage match in 12 years?
England 11/10 (Bet365)
Draw 23/10 (Betfred)
Colombia 13/4 (Unibet)
(Please note all odds shown are correct at time of article publishing)
It’s always worth showing a little bit of caution when England are the favourites with the bookies at the World Cup. They understand the power of patriotic betting and often adjust their prices accordingly but on this occasion, England look a fair price at 11/10 with Bet365.
Southgate came in for some criticism in some section of the media for making so many changes against Belgium. The argument is that the Southgate now has to rediscover the momentum built up by the first two wins but making so many changes was a no brainer in a match that really meant nothing. In contrast, Colombia had to play their strongest side against Senegal. That has potentially cost them their most important player while Pekerman also has to deal with the effects of fatigue throughout his squad.
Making those changes also means that England’s first choice players will be chomping at the bit to get back onto the pitch. England have really started to play some good, effective football under Southgate and should make it through to the quarter-finals with a win inside 90 minutes.
England 1-0 @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Draw 1-1 @ 6/1 (Bet365)
Draw 0-0 @ 6/1 (888Sport)
Colombia 1-0 @ 31/4 (Sportingbet)
England 2-0 @ 8/1 (Unibet)
England 2-1 @ 10/1 (Bet365)
After such an entertaining group stage there was a fear that the extra pressure of the knockout stages would see the goals dry up. Thankfully that has not proven to be the case and we’ve seen some World Cup classics already. The combination of England’s positive approach thus far in the tournament and the slight concerns over their defence suggest that we should be expecting more goals at the Otkrytiye Arena.
James Rodriguez’s importance to Colombia should not be understated but they are far from a one man team. Radamel Falcao has returned to something approaching his best form at Monaco, Juan Cuadrado is equally capable of creating and scoring goals while Colombia displayed their prowess from set pieces when scoring from a corner against Senegal.
We think that England’s own attacking power will see them through to a winnable quarter-final against Switzerland or Sweden but not unless they managed to score more than once. Therefore, the England 2-1 correct score looks tempting at 10/1 with Bet365.
Harry Kane 3/1 (Coral)
Jamie Vardy 9/2 (Ladbrokes)
Marcus Rashford 11/2 (Paddy Power)
Radamel Falcao 6/1 (Paddy Power)
Raheem Sterling 7/1 (888Sport)
Danny Welbeck 7/1 (Bet365)
Jesse Lingard 15/2 (Ladbrokes)
Dele Alli 17/2 (Paddy Power)
Those who think that Colombia will prove to be too much for England will surely be tempted by a bet on Radamel Falcao to score first at 6/1 with Paddy Power but it’s tough to look too far past Harry Kane scoring the opener at 3/1 with Coral.
The England squad have been keen to tell the press that they were fully behind Southgate’s decision to rest so many players against Belgium but privately, Kane must have felt disappointed to miss out. Nobody scored more goals than Kane in the group stages and he is desperate to keep banging them in in his quest to win the Golden Boot. England’s chances in the World Cup lie heavily on Kane’s ability to keep scoring as we think he’ll do just that by getting England off to the perfect start against Colombia.
England to win at 11/10 with Bet365
Harry Kane to score first at 3/1 with Coral