England is one of the favorites to win the 2022 World Cup. At +700 according to sportsbook Sportsbook, only Brazil (+475) and France (+600) have better odds. The goal for Gareth Southgate and his men is to do better than last time and ideally win the World Cup.
Their last go in 2018 saw England get a fourth-place finish after dropping the bronze-medal game 2-0 to Belgium. Four years later, can the English take that extra step forward?
Of course, England’s recent form suggests they might not be ready. In 2022, England has gone 2-3-3 with losses to Hungary (twice) and Italy in the UEFA Nations League.
Assuming their recent form is an anomaly, what could England’s road to the finals look like and how difficult could it be?
England Road To Finals: Group Stage
But that’s just the average rankings. There’s still a significant drop-off in the FIFA rankings from England to the three other nations in Group B. That’s why England’s odds are the best to not only qualify out of the group but win it outright.
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Odds as of October 16 from Sportsbook
A $100 bet on England to win the group would return $38.61 in profits per our odds calculator while a bet on England to qualify out of the group would yield only $6.67 in profits on a $100 bet. It’s not great value if you ask just about anyone.
Breaking down the odds for England’s three group games sees greater value and the potential to make about 1.5 units of profit.
Odds as of October 16 from Sportsbook
Placing $100 on each game for England to win would yield $152.93 in profits or about 1.5 units. That’s much better value. But can England go through the group stage 3-0-0 for a perfect nine points and net you that 1.5 units of profit?
In 2018, England went through the group stage with six points. Their only dropped points came at the hands of the Belgians in a 1-0 loss. Now in 2022, there isn’t another side in England’s group even close to the Belgians’ quality from four years ago (Belgium was fifth in the FIFA rankings compared to England’s 12th in 2018).
England vs iran
A win is expected against Iran to open the tournament. These two sides have never met so there isn’t much to glean from this matchup outside of the difference in the FIFA rankings with England fifth and Iran 20th.
England vs USA
The Americans are the strongest opposition in this group. The U.S. ranks 16th in the FIFA rankings. The English hold a strong 8-1-2 record against the U.S. The last time these sides met, they played to a 1-1 draw at the 2010 World Cup.
Another draw might seem possible here, but consider that the USA has gone 4-2-4 over its last 10, defeating only Honduras, Panama, Morocco and Grenada. Only Morocco is a World Cup-bound squad. And while the English aren’t in great form themselves, the opponents they’ve faced are some of the best (outside of Hungary, of course).
England vs wales
What about the Welsh? Well, the English are 5-1-0 against Wales at the World Cup level. The last meeting in the World Cup came in 2005 with England winning 1-0. All-time, England is 68-21-14 against Wales for a win percentage of 66.
Wales just doesn’t have the offense to compete against England with 1.60 goals per 90. The English were the highest-scoring team in UEFA qualifications with 3.80 goals per 90.
England should win this group and likely goes 3-0-0 for a full nine points. Bet on England to win through the group stage and make that 1.5 units.
England Road To Finals: Round of 16
Winning the group would set them up for a date with the runner-up in a weak Group A. That should be Senegal, which has the second-best odds to win the group at +425.
There is no history between England and Senegal, but England is ranked fifth in the world to Senegal’s 18th. I fancy Southgate’s men to take this. Again, England was the highest-scoring team (per 90) in all of UEFA qualifications. Senegal hasn’t faced an attack quite like this through qualification, though their defense was the fifth-best in CAF qualifications. Over their last 10 games, Senegal has kept four clean sheets and allowed only 0.8 goals per 90.
This tie goes to England. The odds will surely reflect the same on the moneyline. The best course of action would be to bet the UNDER here. This will likely finish 1-0 with Senegal parking the bus and hoping to catch England on the break.
England Road To Finals: Quarterfinals
The run to the finals gets more difficult for England. Getting past Senegal in the Round of 16 would set up a likely date with France.
The World Cup record between England and France is quite short at 2-0-0 in favor of the English. Their last meeting was in 1982 when the Three Lions won 3-1. In all competitions, England is 17-5-9 against the French, losing the last encounter 3-2 in a 2017 friendly.
These are two of the best sides in the world with equally matched defenses through qualifications (0.30 goals per 90 for England and 0.37 goals per 90 for France). The oddsmakers will see this game as a pick’em on the moneyline. You’ll get good value by backing England.
To take it a step further, I’d look at player props in this contest.
Harry Kane hitting the OVER on shots during the game would be wise. These two teams will play themselves effectively into a stalemate. A game-breaker of Kane’s quality will decide this tie. England already feeds the Tottenham striker a lot with 2.92 shots on target per 90 in qualification. The English will continue to do so in this fixture, hoping he settles it for them.
Harry Kane is the favorite to win the World Cup Golden Boot with +800 odds.
England Road To Finals: Semifinals
Belgium is the likely opponent here. Group F is Belgium’s to lose with their odds at -195, setting up a date with Germany in the Round of 16. And while the Germans are, by name, a strong opponent, this isn’t the same German side we’ve seen in years past. Sure, they went 9-0-1 through UEFA group qualifications, but Germany’s Group J was the weakest with Romania, Iceland, Armenia, Liechtenstein and North Macedonia.
England’s road to the finals goes through Belgium.
These two teams have recent history, specifically deep in the tournament, battling it out for third place in the 2018 World Cup. Belgium took that game 2-0, a loss that England didn’t necessarily deserve as they held 57 percent of possession and outshot Belgium 15-12 in general and 5-4 in terms of shots on net.
But the difference on that day was a gulf in quality and experience in favor of the Belgians. That won’t be the case four years later. This is a more experienced and talented England squad than the one fielded in 2018.
Belgium will be the favored squad simply based on their FIFA rankings. For England to pull through, they’ll have to hit from set pieces or corners. Belgium’s only losses in 2022 have come at the hands of the Netherlands. That most recent loss against the Netherlands came down to a Virgil van Dijk header off a corner kick.
If England can bring their dead-ball specialty from 2018, when they scored six of eight goals from dead balls, they should pull through this game.
Betting angle? Harry Kane as the anytime goal scorer. Again, Kane is the game-breaker for England and specifically the target man on set pieces and corners.