No-one said it was going to be easy. It certainly hasn’t been so far and it’s certainly not going to be in the days ahead. England put us all through the wringer in their meeting with Colombia in the last-sixteen round on Tuesday evening, Gareth Southgate’s men seemingly set on victory after Harry Kane put them ahead from the spot in the 57th minute. It wasn’t going to be that straightforward though was it? A dramatic save from Pickford in the dying seconds resulted in a Colombia corner and the cross was redirected into the net by Yerry Mina. Cue another thirty minutes of sitting on the edge of the sofa!
Extra-time didn’t produce much in the way of excitement and it appeared as though both sides had resigned themselves to a penalty shoot-out decider. That was how it ended and while Jordan Henderson looked to have severely dented England’s hopes of progressing into the quarter-finals after having his penalty saved, Colombia’s Mateus Uribe followed this by hitting the crossbar and it was game-on once again. Pickford produced a fine save to deny Carlos Bacca and it was left to Eric Dier to score the winner. This he did and the celebrations began.
The Three Lions can now look forward to their World Cup quarter-final meeting with Sweden on Saturday and while most pundits agree that this is the more favourable of the ties, there is little doubt that once again we’ll be put through the wringer. The Swedes have made it to this stage of the tournament purely on merit and they will be a very tough nut to crack, however the bookmakers are optimistic of England’s chances and have slashed their odds on lifting the trophy to as low as 4/1, making them joint second-favourites alongside France and behind Brazil at 11/4.
Belgium have been considered dark horses in this competition and they have certainly impressed en-route to the quarter-finals, clawing their way back from two goals behind against Japan in the last round to ultimately win 3-2. They will be presented with a much tougher challenge in their next outing when they line-up against Brazil and the bookmakers have the Red Devils chalked-up at 6/1 to go all the way in Russia.
World Cup Best Odds
11/4 – Brazil
4/1 – France
4/1 – England
6/1 – Belgium
13/2 – Croatia
16/1 – Uruguay
20/1 – Russia
25/1 – Sweden
The leading bookmakers continue to give away some great price boosts and free bets on the World Cup and you can find these by visiting our Bookmaker Free Bets page.