When Gareth Southgate was appointed as Sam Allardyce’s successor as England manager in November 2016, his side were 20/1 to win the World Cup. On Wednesday he will lead the Three Lions out to face Croatia in the second semi-final as 11/4* second favourites with Bet365 to lift the trophy, following the dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Colombia and Saturday’s more comfortable 2-0 victory against Sweden.
Southgate’s calm dignity, not to mention his waistcoats, have already won him many admirers, while his tactics have also proved shrewd. England have posed a particular threat at set-pieces, something they have clearly worked hard on in training, while Southgate and his coaching staff have spent hours analysing each potential opponent in great detail. The England coach has, of course, experienced the heartbreak of losing a major tournament semi-final on penalties, missing the crucial kick against Germany at Euro 96, and that is sure to be on many people’s minds on Wednesday evening.
That was the summer of ‘Football’s Coming Home’, the anthem that has been adopted once again by England supporters – and they’ll be singing it long into the night on Wednesday if England can land best odds of 4/6* with Bet365 by qualifying for their first major final since 1966.
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|