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Friday, 14 December, 2018

England cut to win 2018 World Cup after great draw

Three Lions 16-1 for glory in Russia next summer

England have been handed a nice World Cup draw
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They say it's better to be lucky than good and England can have no complaints when it comes to fortune after being handed a comfortable World Cup draw in Group G next summer.

Gareth Southgate's men are second favourites at 7-5 behind Belgium to top the section but qualification appears to be a doddle with England's first two group matches against Tunisia and Panama before they take on the market leaders, presumably in a battle for first place.

England are 1-4 to qualify for the knockout phase (one firm are as short as 1-16) and without wishing to get too carried away their potential last-16 opponents - Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan - could also have been much more difficult so it should not overly matter whether Southgate's side finish top or second.

Bookmakers were suitably encouraged by the potential for England to have a decent run and all the remaining 20-1 about the Three Lions being victorious next summer disappeared after they avoided all of the main dangers lurking in the bottom two pots.

It's a far cry from the demanding draw in 2014 when England were alongside Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica and crashed out after just two matches.

They are as big as 7-1 with Betway for an embarrassing group-stage exit this time around with England hoping for a positive start in their opening fixture against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday, June 18. The Panama clash is on Sunday, June 24 in Novgorod and England meet Belgium in Kalinigrad on Thursday, June 28.

Ladbrokes quote 4-7 that England get off to a flyer against Tunisia with bet365 rating the African underdogs 6-1 to stun Southgate's side.

It's 9-2 with Betfred that England don't concede a goal in Group G and 7-1 they reach the knockout phase with nine points, while Harry Kane is the same price to notch in all three matches.

Kane is also 6-4 with Betfred to top-score for England in Russia and bet365 rate him 16-1 to finish with the Golden Boot.

If the tournament goes to market expectations then it will be a quarter-final exit at the hands of Germany, who are joint-favourites to retain the trophy at 5-1 following a group-stage draw which see the holders face Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

Brazil are alongside Germany at the head of the market and can have no complaints at their draw alongside Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica, while 6-1 shots France will be happy enough with Peru, Denmark and Australia.

Spain, who tackle Portugal, Iran and Morocco, have been cut to 15-2 with La Roja set to meet a relatively weak Group A opponents from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay or Egypt in the round of 16.

Of the big nations 9-1 shots Argentina took a walk in the betting with Lionel Messi and company housed in the most difficult section alongside Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland.

World Cup draw - Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay; Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran; Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark; Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria; Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia; Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea; Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England; Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan. 

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It's a far cry from the difficult draw in 2014 when England were alongside Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica and were eliminated after just two matches.
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