England Continue Marching on in Russia
The England band wagon continues to roll on in Russia. For many fans either back home or those few thousand that are in Russia, this probably feels a little like a dream, but there is no doubt about it, England are two victories away from lifting the World Cup for the first time since 1966. You can say what you like about the path England have taken to get through to this stage, but that shouldn’t take anything away from what they have achieved so far. Should England go onto win this tournament, no one will remember who they faced, simply that they were crowned champions of the world.
The Three Lions controlled their game against Sweden from start to finish, with few chances for both teams. However, it was Gareth Southgate’s men that took theirs, while Jordan Pickford stopped anything the Swedes threw at him. For the most part, this was a calm and controlled performance, and one that showed England know exactly what to do when it comes to setting up for the big games. Going into this tournament, there was little pressure on their shoulders, with many people expecting them to get out of the group stages and go little further, but now the whole country is behind them and expecting the players to perform, something the squad has taken perfectly in its stride.
Strong England Defensive Play Grabs Headlines
Although the performance against Sweden was a good all-round team performance, the defence stood out as being especially good. Led by John Stones, the England back three performed very well, with both Stones and Maguire looking dangerous when attacking from set pieces at the other end. Maguire got his goal and after a shaky first game at the tournament he has been fantastic for the Three Lions, fully justifying his selection in the starting eleven.
Out wide, Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young have received praise for what they have done going forward, but despite their attacking instincts, neither one has been left open or caught napping defensively, both deserve praise for that. Last but by no means least, Jordan Pickford, a goalkeeper who has faced criticism both coming into the tournament and during it. He has made at least four world class saves over the past two games, and gave England the platform they need to build upon, he has been a real find and praise must go to Gareth Southgate for believing in him.
England face Croatia in their semi-final, and they have been priced up as favourites to win it by the bookmakers. They are 13/10 to take the tie in 90 minutes, with Croatia priced up at 12/5. As far as winning the World Cup goes, England are now 5/2 second favourites to lift the trophy after the shock exit of Brazil on Friday night. France have moved into favouritism at 2/1. Be sure to check out the daily football tips page ahead of the action on Tuesday and Wednesday, to see what the experts think will happen in the two semi-finals. If you are looking to get invovled in the action then check out the free bets page where you can get exclusive sign up offers with many top bookmakers.