Memories of the Euros are still fresh in the minds of England fans, but attention now immediately turns to the 2022 Qatar World Cup as another tournament cycle begins.
The Three Lions have three wins from three and are sitting comfortably at the top of Group I ahead of this month’s games against Hungary, Andorra and Poland.
England’s often lifeless mid-season internationals might attract more interest than ever before, with a quarter of supporters in a recent YouGov survey for Betfair claiming they are more likely to watch the upcoming qualifiers than they had previously been as a result of England’s impressive Euros campaign.
Gareth Southgate’s side are also expected to cruise past minnows Andorra without trouble, and given their odds of 1/50 to win at Wembley anything less than a convincing victory will be a shock for the ages.
In the final and possibly most difficult game of the international break, England are 3/4 to beat Poland in their own backyard, a result that would likely see Southgate’s team pull clear at the top of the standings.
Qualification looks to be a given for England barring a catastrophic collapse. Odds of 1/18 to finish top of Group I give an indication of their superiority, and although Southgate will have warned his players against complacency, it’s probably safe to start checking the date on your passport if you fancy a trip to Qatar for some winter sun and football next year.
Southgate and his players are in with a chance, then, and as many of one in five supporters polled in Betfair’s survey think football will come home, with a further 64% believing that this is the nation’s best team since 1966, while 87% have backed Southgate as the right man for the job.
Despite optimism reaching dangerously high levels, England will face tough competition if they are to end over 50 years of hurt. France are the 5/1 favourites to win the World Cup, with Brazil next at 11/2 and Germany 7/1. Then come England, Italy and Spain at 15/2, Belgium 9/1, Argentina 11/1, Netherlands 14/1 and Portugal 16/1.
For now, though, the focus will be on coming through the qualifiers seamlessly and building towards another successful tournament.
Harry Kane is the 12/5 favourite to score first against Hungary despite his potentially distracting transfer saga with Manchester City this summer. and the Spurs striker can be backed at 19/1 to hit a hat-trick in Budapest, while Jack Grealish, fresh off the back of his £100m move to Manchester City, is 9/1 to assist two or more goals.
Hungary narrowly missed out on qualifying from their group in the Euros despite shock draws against France and Germany, but a 3-0 defeat in the first game to Portugal gave them too much to do. With that in mind, England will be aware of the stumbling block Marco Rossi’s side present. The odds suggest Adam Szalai is the danger man and he’s Hungary’s leading chance of scoring anytime at 7/2.
Betfair spokesman Sam Rosbottom said: "With international football back on our radar so soon after the end of the Euros, our survey aimed to get to the bottom of how confident England fans are in winning their first World Cup since 1966 after such a promising run to the final earlier this summer.
"The answers showed that while there is definitely more optimism and interest, with one in five believing England will win the World Cup. Current Betfair odds make England a 15/2 shot alongside Italy, with France the 5/1 favourites ahead of Brazil at 11/2 and Germany at 7/1.
"More than a year out we are also bringing back our ‘Football’s Coming Home-o-Meter’ based off the Betfair Exchange World Cup winners market, which currently gives England an 12% chance of lifting the trophy in Qatar.”
Hungary vs England
2022 World Cup winner
Odds correct at the time of writing. Visit Betfair for the latest EFL odds. 18+. Please gamble responsibly. Commercial Content.
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