England fourth favourites for World Cup ahead of knockouts

Dave Tickner

A dramatic World Cup group stage has come to an end. While most of the big names survived despite some unexpected results along the way, Germany have gone out at the first stage for the first time since 1938.

Ahead of the knockout stage, here’s a look at how the action so far has affected the odds for the teams at the head of the outright betting.

Pre-tournament: 4/1
Biggest price: 5/1
Current price: 7/2

Brazil still just about head the betting after taking seven points from nine in a not altogether convincing group stage. Despite winning their group and seeing the second favourites eliminated, the Selecao’s price has only shortened a touch to lift a sixth world title – a reflection of both their indifferent performances and place in the tougher half of the draw.

Pre-tournament: 6/1
Biggest price: 15/2
Current price: 4/1

Spain’s price drifted before they’d even kicked a ball in anger amid the drama of their manager Julen Lopetugui being sacked after accepting the Real Madrid job. Fernando Hierro has steered them through Group B safely enough, though. Iran’s late equaliser against Portugal meant Spain topped the group. That was crucial. They now face Russia in the last 16 rather than Uruguay and, according to the odds, will meet Croatia and England in the quarter-finals and semi-finals rather than France and Brazil on the other side of the draw. It’s 7/1 for the two favourites to meet in the final.

Pre-tournament: 11/1
Biggest price: 11/1
Current price: 13/2

Belgium have been shortened in the betting after every game of a thus far flawless campaign. Sixth favourites at the outset, their three wins in Group G have seen them leapfrog France and Argentina – as well as Germany – in the outright betting.

Pre-tournament: 18/1
Biggest price: 18/1
Current price: 15/2

Gareth Southgate’s England have been among the biggest movers during the group stage. Seventh favourites before a ball was kicked – and some way adrift of the six market leaders in the betting – they are now favourites to win their quarter of the draw after Germany’s exit. They need ‘only’ to beat Colombia and Switzerland or Sweden to land 13/10 odds. Their outright price is shorter than it would be had they won Group G, where Brazil would have been potential quarter-final opponents.

Pre-tournament: 13/2
Biggest price: 10/1
Current price: 8/1

France’s movement in the betting reflects a quirk of tournament football, where other results can impact your own chances. Despite taking seven points from nine to win their group, France had at one point drifted from their starting 13/2 right out to 10/1. That’s because Argentina’s failure to win Group D leaves the two heavyweights on a last-16 collision course. Germany’s exit saw France’s price contract again.

Pre-tournament: 33/1
Biggest price: 33/1
Current price: 12/1

Perhaps the most significant mover of the lot after a hugely impressive nine points from nine in the Group of Death alongside Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland. A likely quarter-final against Spain looks like a real eye-catcher, and Luka Modric and co will certainly fancy their chances of causing another upset.

Pre-tournament: 9/1
Biggest price: 20/1
Current price: 14/1

From the biggest steamer to the biggest drifter, with Argentina’s price more than doubling when it looked like they were heading home in the first round. Somehow they scrambled through, but finishing second to Croatia has seen them land in the tougher half of the draw and with a nightmare last-16 draw against France.

Pre-tournament: 40/1
Biggest price: 80/1
Current price: 22/1

Won Group H despite losing their first game to Japan – at which point their outright price spiralled out to almost three figures. Now in the easiest quarter of the draw with England, Sweden and Switzerland, and with every chance of getting beyond the last eight for the first time in their history. That’s reflected in their outright price being almost half what it was at the outset, and a quarter of what it was after the first round of games.

Pre-tournament: 33/1
Biggest price: 33/1
Current price: 22/1

Uruguay were the big beneficiaries of the draw, seeing their odds cut from 50/1 to 33/1 after landing in Russia’s group and avoiding all the big guns. They duly won Group A with three wins out of three, but their price is still holding due to a nightmarish run through the knockouts: just to reach the final they will likely have to beat Portugal, France (or Argentina) and Brazil (or Belgium).

Pre-tournament: 25/1
Biggest price: 25/1
Current price: 25/1

Portugal will be really kicking themselves for failing to take top spot in Group B when it was there for the taking. While their chances are now rated just as they were before a ball was kicked, they were as short as 16/1 when it looked like they rather than Spain would be facing Russia, Croatia, England and co in the bottom half of the draw.