As England put together the final pieces in their preparations for Russia 2018, fans up and down the country are not feeling too confident about their chances. Bookmaker reports show that England have been backed for group stage elimination by punters, something that would be classed as a huge shock in the footballing world. England face Tunisia, Panama and Belgium in the group stages, and they should have enough to get through, but punters are thinking otherwise right now.
An Oddschecker report shows that 48% of all bets placed on when England will be eliminated from the tournament are on a group stage exit. However, it is not the favorite option in that betting market; that is for them to be eliminated at the last 16 stage. This is closely followed by them being eliminated at the quarter-final stage, with a group elimination coming third in the betting.
Danny Welbeck is the only Arsenal player in the England World Cup squad this summer, after a surprising omission for Jack Wilshere. It is unlikely we will see too much from Welbeck this summer, but Arsenal fans saw last season that he can do a job if needed. He offers England some size up front and, if they want to go in a different direction, then putting Welbeck up top may not be such a bad idea.
Harry Kane will lead the England attack, and he currently has 12 goals from 23 appearances for the senior team. Behind Kane, expect to see Jamie Vardy given a chance should Kane disappoint for any reason, with Welbeck filling in as the third striking option or coming on to give England something a little different.
There doesn’t appear to be much confidence around the England team right now from their fans, which is not usually the case going into a major tournament. If anything, England fans are known for being too expectant and too confident before ultimately feeling a little disappointed. Without the weight of expectations on their backs, England may have the ability to overachieve this summer, and qualifying from the group stages into the knockout round will be the minimum they expect to achieve.
Although many are backing England for an early exit, they should comfortably get out of their group. As we have seen in the past, anything can happen.