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World Cup 2018: Group G Preview

- 13:06, 7th June 2018
England boss Gareth Southgate has been brave in selecting a younger squad for the 2018 World Cup.


We take a look at the World Cup betting for Group G as England go up against Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in their bid to improve on Brazil in 2014, when they failed to negotiate the group stage.

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The temptation would be to back Roberto Martinez’s Belgium to win the group given that they are the highest-ranked team involved, and their World Cup odds are currently 5/6 to finish at the top of the pile.

However, the Three Lions head into their sixth successive World Cup, since missing out on USA ’94, with arguably the least amount of pressure and expectation on the shoulders of the players. Gone is the talk of ‘Golden Generations’ and the usual players shoe-horned into the 23-man squad regardless of form and fitness in the lead up to the tournament.

Boss Gareth Southgate has been brave in selecting a younger squad, who can continue building together in the coming years, and the English public appear to have responded favourably.

There continues to be a few question marks regarding the defence and elements of the midfield. But England have the firepower to put teams to bed, with the prolific skipper Harry Kane leading the charge and worth considering at 17/1 to finish with the Golden Boot.

After the debacle in Brazil, when England finished bottom of the group with one point from three games, punters will be wary of Tunisia and Panama being one of the dark horses, like Costa Rica were four years ago when finishing top of the group ahead of Uruguay and Italy.

However, England and Belgium are both well fancied to defeat the other two sides in the group, with the Three Lions potentially edging past the Red Devils at the top of Group C courtesy of a superior goal difference following a draw in the final game, which is priced at 12/5.

It’s a bold prediction given that a star-studded Belgium squad, boasting the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, go into the tournament at 11/1 to win it outright, having topped their qualification group in style, winning nine out of their 10 matches, scoring 43 goals in the process.

However, the fact they dropped points in a 1-1 draw against Greece and memories of their Euro 2016 quarter-final capitulation at the hands of Wales two years ago shows they do possess weaknesses.

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If England can negotiate the group stage this year, it opens the door to progressing beyond the last 16 for the first time since the 2006 finals in Germany.

The top two in Group G will face the top two in H, which is occupied by Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan. The Word Cup tips show the Colombians are expected to win the group and are 2/5 to qualify, while the Poles are backed to progress to the last 16 at 4/7.

England will no doubt fancy their chances of edging past either of those sides in a one-off match to seal a last-eight spot. However, with the possibility of Brazil or reigning world champions Germany waiting in the quarter-finals, it will be difficult to see the team emulating their best finish of a semi-final spot, which was achieved in Italy in 1990.

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