Tamed Lions 20-1 sixth-favourites for World Cup
BOOKMAKERS were doing their best to entice England supporters into backing their team during Euro 2012 and the same tactics have already started for the 2014 World Cup with Roy Hodgson’s side available at 20-1 with Hills to win the competition in Brazil.
The Three Lions, who were 16-1 at one stage for the European Championship only to crash out in the quarter-finals on penalties to Italy, are rated the sixth favourites to go all the way in South America in two years’ time.
Despite being 20-1, England are still behind only Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany and Holland in the betting and ahead of Euro 2012 semi-finalists Italy and Portugal, who are 25-1 and 33-1 despite going further than Hodgson’s men this summer.
Of course, the first task is to qualify and the road to Brazil starts in September against Moldova, but England could not have asked for an easier group with European Championship co-hosts Poland and Ukraine seen as the biggest dangers.
England are 4-9 to finish on top of a section which alsoincludes San Marino and Montenegro and Ladbrokes are as short as 1-6 on the Three Lions reaching the finals, with Hills 1-5.
Even though England were outclassed by Italy it would be a major surprise if they failed to negotiate such an easy assignment, although that will put pressure on Hodgson should anything go wrong during the supposed stroll.
Ladbrokes are 5-6 Hodgson is still the boss come the start of the next World Cup and the same price he leaves, while Blue Square are quoting 7-4 that the much-travelled coach exits in 2014. Hodgson, for the time being at least, is enjoying a honeymoon period with few blaming him for the England’s elimination and Ladbrokes rate him a 10-1 shot to win a major competition during his tenure.
There has been the usual call for total change to the starting 11 but bookmakers are not expecting anything radical for the start of World Cup qualifying with Hills going only 9-4 at least ten of the starters from Sunday line up against Moldova.
That suggests the old guard will remain and Ladbrokes have Steven Gerrard as 6-4 favourite to lead the Three Lions into the World Cup and the Liverpool man is 5-2 with Blue Square to claim the England fans Player of the Year award this time around.
A quarter-final exit is once again seen as the most likely departure for England in Brazil – a last-eight defeat is 3-1 – and it is 9-2 with Blue Square that England once again head home on the back of a shootout defeat. Hills are 2-1 about England ending their penalty hoodoo in 2014,