World Cup 2018: Has loopy event left England as favourites to achieve remaining?
England v Colombia (19:00 BST, Tuesday three July)
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Following Spain’s shock elimination, no earlier winners now stand between England and the World Cup remaining. So might soccer actually be coming residence?
The 2 most up-to-date champions, Germany and Spain, have been each anticipated to lie in look ahead to England in Russia however they’ve been knocked out, leaving Gareth Southgate’s staff because the second highest-ranked facet of their half of the draw, behind sixth-placed Switzerland.
The upsets imply considered one of England, Colombia, Sweden, Switzerland, Croatia or Russia will certainly be within the Moscow remaining on 15 July.
Not that anyone is getting too carried away – that is England, in fact, and a report of two World Cup knockout stage wins since 1990 makes for grim studying.
Do England actually have an ‘straightforward’ path to the ultimate?
Solely 5 nations have ever eradicated England in a knockout tie, all of them amongst soccer’s main nations – Germany (2010, 1990 and 1970), Portugal (2006), Brazil (2002 and 1962), Argentina (1998 and 1986) after which defending champions Uruguay (1954).
They’ve by no means overwhelmed a top-tier facet in a World Cup knockout sport – 1966 glory apart – and the one elimination video games England have received since their 1990 run to the semi-finals have been towards Ecuador in 2006 and Denmark in 2002.
However this time may very well be a really totally different story.
England are the only real staff of their half of the draw to have received the World Cup and solely Sweden, in 1958, have ever reached the ultimate.
Final-16 opponents Colombia have solely been to the quarter-finals as soon as, in 2014.
The winners of that tie will face Sweden, whose final semi-final was in 1994, or Switzerland – who’ve by no means been past the final eight.
The semi-final might be between a type of sides and 1998 semi-finalists Croatia or hosts Russia – who had by no means been previous the group phases because the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Switzerland are the highest-ranked staff on this part – with England joint 12th, Colombia 16th, Croatia 20th, Sweden 24th and Russia 70th.
Then again, Colombia have James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, Croatia have Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic and Russia have partisan residence assist. Sweden completed above Germany of their group and Switzerland drew with Brazil.
Oh, and that is England.
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Have finalists ever had a extra beneficial draw?
You would need to return to 2002 to seek out the final time any staff reached the ultimate with out dealing with any of soccer’s superpowers within the knockout phases. Germany received by to that remaining by beating Paraguay, america and co-hosts South Korea.
Brazil’s run to that remaining – which they received – was additionally comparatively simple – beating Belgium, England and Turkey.
Solely one of many six World Cup finalists since then have gotten to the ultimate with out beating both Brazil or Germany on the way in which. And even then Argentina, in 2014, needed to beat the 2010 finalists, the Netherlands, within the semis.
We’re not saying England will win it…
Nicely not but, anyway.
Sure, not one of the previous three winners are left – Italy did not qualify, Germany went out within the teams and Spain misplaced to Russia within the final 16. Sure, the world’s two finest gamers are out, and sure, just one South American staff has ever received the World Cup in Europe, however…
Even when England reached the ultimate, it is seemingly they’d face one of many world’s prime sides there.
The three remaining favourites are within the different half of the draw. France’s squad will include three of the 5 costliest gamers of all time, as soon as Kylian Mbappe’s switch from Monaco to Paris St-Germain goes by, Brazil are five-time world champions and Belgium are stuffed with Premier League stars.
One other chance is two-time champions Uruguay, who’re arduous to beat and didn’t concede a objective within the group stage.
It is likely to be value reminding ourselves that Southgate’s facet have solely truly overwhelmed Tunisia and Panama thus far in Russia.
Oh, and did we point out England have solely received two knockout video games since 1990?