England 11-4 for World Cup as they beat Sweden

England are just 11-4 to win the World Cup after easing their way into the semi-finals with a comfortable 2-0 win over Sweden in Samara.

The Three Lions, a best-priced 18-1 before the tournament began, will face Croatia in their semi-final on Wednesday after Zlatko Dalic's team knocked out hosts Russia on penalties.

Harry Maguire - 35-1 to open the scoring - put the Three Lions on their way with a bullet header after half an hour and Dele Alli added a second-half header.

It was another accomplished performance from England, who had been 19-20 to win the match in normal time and were rarely troubled by Sweden.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was forced to make a couple of decent second-half saves as the Swedes looked to drag themselves back into the game but the Sunderland stopper had an otherwise comfortable afternoon.

The same can't be said for bookmakers who are counting the cost of another costly England win.

Betfred spokesman Peter Spencer said: "England are costing us an absolute fortune in every game as they march relentlessly towards the final. Two-nil and Maguire to score first was popular, particularly in his home city of Leicester, at 110-1. England are making the most of being in the easier half of the draw."

Coral were also hit hard. “England were odds-on favourites to beat Sweden so their victory was a great result for punters, although Saturday's payout will be nothing compared to the tens of millions the bookies will have to fork out if the Three Lions can end 52 years of hurt next Sunday,” said spokesman David Stevens.

And bet365 reported a similar tale of woe with Steve Freeth remarking: “We’ve had major tournaments in the past where England backers have been left disappointed, but they’re having a good run for their money in this World Cup with liabilities now heading towards the telephone number stage.”

Patriotic punters can back England to make the final at 4-6 while they are a 7-5 shot to win in 90 minutes. Croatia are available at 6-5 while a normal-time win for the underdogs is a 5-2 chance.

The Croats made the last four at the expense of Russia but they required penalties for the second match in a row and didn't wholly convince.

Russia's Denis Cheryshev took his tournament goal tally to four with a fantastic strike just after the half-hour mark but Croatia soon levelled through Andrej Kramaric.

The teams could not be split after normal time although Domagoj Vida looked to have done enough for Croatia when he headed home after 101 minutes.

But Russia, spurred on by the introduction of star man Alan Dzagoev, equalised through Mario Fernandes before spot-kicks were needed to decide the fourth semi-finalist.

Fyodor Smolov missed Russia's first effort, before Mateo Kovacic failed to convert for Croatia.

Fernandes went from hero to zero as he missed his penalty, dragging the ball wide of the target, before Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic ended the hosts' challenge as he slotted home Croatia's final kick.

France are 8-5 favourites with Betway to get the better of 11-5 shots Belgium inside 90 minutes in Tuesday's first semi-final.

Les Bleus are 2-1 tournament favourites with Belgium next best at 11-4.

Match in Focus

19:45 Tu 16Oct SKY

Ireland v Wales

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Ireland have won one of their last eight matches.
Expert verdict
Ireland were held to a dull 0-0 draw by a Denmark team missing Christian Eriksen on Saturday and may suffer another stalemate against Wales in Dublin. Only a victory would breathe life into Ireland's hopes of winning League B, Group 4 but they are hard to fancy, having failed of win any of their last four competitive games.

 

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