November 14 – With the World Cup kicking off in just six days, some of the groups are packed full of teams that are in good form. That’s not the case in Group B where England take on the USA, Iran and Wales.
England are the favourites to win the group and are still high in the betting to lift the World Cup on December 18. But does Gareth Southgate’s team really have a better chance of becoming world champions than Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Argentina?
There’s only one reason why England only has Brazil and France ahead of them in the betting odds. Bookmakers, especially in England, are unwilling to offer higher odds just in case the miracle happens and England return home from Qatar with the World Cup.
The market is being made not by the form of the teams but because the bookies know there are plenty of people who bet with their heart and will bet on their own country or favourite team – hence why the odds on in England are short. Online betting on sport is now legal in US states such as New York and New Jersey. They aren’t too keen on offering too high odds on the US winning the World Cup for similar reasons.
IEngland last managed to win a match in March when they beat Ivory Coast 3-0 in a home friendly. But it’s all been a bit miserable for them since then. Another goal from open play wasn’t scored until a dramatic 3-3 home draw with Germany in their final match before the World Cup finals. They still haven’t won in their last six matches.
England have talented players but rarely gel to put on an impressive performance. Can anyone back them to win the World Cup when their defending simply cannot be trusted? Hungary put four past them and Germany three.
The other three countries in their group aren’t exactly setting the world on fire. After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the USA have made it to the finals in 2022 (2022 World Cup USA current odds with PointsBet in New York at +10000). However, it was their impressive home form that got them through. Away from home, they only beat bottom-of-the-group Honduras and barely troubled the scorers in their other away qualifiers.
Their final warm-up game saw them held to a goalless draw by Saudi Arabia. That makes it just one win in six games and that came at home to Grenada. With such poor away form, some way of getting results on their travels has to be found in Qatar. Just two goals in their last seven away fixtures isn’t going to scare too many opponents.
Iran also failed to win their final match before the World Cup finals. They drew 1-1 in Senegal and have only won two of their last five matches. A 1-0 win over Uruguay in September will have given them some encouragement and beating them in Qatar won’t be an easy task.
Wales have finally made it to the World Cup finals after a 64-year absence. Like England, they were relegated in the Nations League and have lost four of their last five matches. Playing in the World Cup finals will be a massive occasion for them but will emotions prevent them from putting in some good performances in Qatar?
Group B is going to be a hard one to predict. England should win it but there will always be worries when the opposing team gets close to their penalty box.
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