Three Lions still fancied to progress

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Despite going down 2-1 in their World Cup opener against Italy, England should still progress to the knockout phase according to bookmakers, bet365 making Roy Hodgson’s troops odds-on at 10/11 to qualify from Group D.

In part, this is because their performance in defeat in Manaus was encouraging but Uruguay’s shock reverse against Costa Rica also aided the cause of the Three Lions, whose fate remains in their own hands.

Winner.com’s 5/4 favourites to finish as group runners-up, England would put themselves firmly in the qualification driving seat with a victory against the wounded Uruguayans in Sao Paulo tonight (Thursday) and William Hill chalk them up at 13/10 to collect a vital three points.

Paddy Power price La Celeste at 5/2 to bounce back from their Fortaleza horror show and it’s also 5/2, this time at betway, for the spoils to be shared, a result that would see both teams retain hopes of reaching the last 16.

That’s an outcome many neutrals will fancy, alongside BetVictor’s 18/5 about a score draw while a 1-1 scoreline is 13/2 courtesy of the same firm and cautious England supporters, perhaps concerned about the possible return of Luis Suarez for the South Americans, can back their team at 8/15 in Stan James’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market.

Neither side looked particularly convincing at the back in their respective fixtures on Saturday and, on that basis, BetVictor’s 17/20 for both teams to get on the scoresheet looks a safe enough bet.

Subsequently, punters fancying Hodgson’s charges to do the business might tackle Ladbrokes’s 10/1 marked against them shading it 2-1 in a contest that’s 11/10 (BetVictor) to produce three or more goals and less specifically, bet365 offer 11/4 about an England success by a one-goal margin.

In what looks set to be another tight affair for the Three Lions, it’s 4/1 via Stan James for them to emerge triumphant on the back of an inconclusive first period and Skybet go 13/2 about the score being 1-1, as it was against the Azzurri at the weekend.

In terms of goals, Stan James make England 4/5 to bag the first and Wayne Rooney, rated at 1/5 by William Hill to start the game in the Arena Corinthians, is 13/2 with BetVictor to justify his selection by breaking the deadlock.

Daniel Sturridge is a skinnier 6/1 at Ladbrokes to notch first and at the other end it’s also 6/1 (bet365) for his Liverpool colleague Luis Suarez to open the scoring.

Elsewhere, with so much at stake, it could be a busy game for the referee, who is 3/1 with Paddy Power to award a penalty at some stage.

Hodgson’s team are 7/1 via bet365 to strike from the spot and the man-in-the-middle is 5/2 courtesy of BetVictor to show a yellow card to Suarez, the same price they post against a Rooney caution.

BetVictor, meanwhile, also quote a generous 5/1 for Raheem Sterling, dismissed in a pre-tournament friendly, to be booked on this occasion.

Having won their respective opening fixtures in Group D, Italy and Costa Rica will both be in high spirits as they prepare to face off in Recife tomorrow (Friday).

For the Italians, an encouraging if not entirely unlikely triumph over England has set them on the path to qualification but Los Ticos should be in even higher spirits after defying the odds to register a richly-deserved 3-1 triumph against Uruguay.

The Central American outfit, however, will have to spring another surprise if they are to double their points tally, BetVictor rating them as 13/2 outsiders in the Arena Pernambuco, where Cesare Prandelli’s troops will kick-off as bet365’s 8/15 favourites.

Paddy Power post 10/3 against a stalemate, a wager that might appeal to those that tipped Mexico to earn a share of the spoils against hosts Brazil and a goalless affair is an 11/1 chance at Ladbrokes.

However, Italy should ultimately be too crafty for the Costa Ricans, especially with the peerless Andrea Pirlo pulling the strings and they look decent value at 6/4 (Skybet) to prevail ‘to nil’.

Alternatively, Ladbrokes chalk them up at 13/2 to notch twice without reply and it’s 4/1 (Winner.com) for Mario Balotelli to put the Italians 1-0 up.

Heading to the All-England club as defending champion, with a new coach and having battled his way to the French Open semi-finals, Andy Murray has plenty of reasons to be optimistic as he looks to retain his Wimbledon title and the third seed is BetVictor’s 3/1 second favourite to prevail at SW19.

Fresh from his Roland Garros success, Rafa Nadal is a 5/1 chance at Stan James but the man he defeated in that Paris final, Novak Djokovic (7/4, bet365) looks most likely to go all the way on a surface he prefers to clay.

Bet of the week: Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon – 7/4 (bet365).

Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com