Spain’s defeat by Russia opens up England’s side of the World Cup draw


Spain‘s shock World Cup exit at the hands of host nation Russia has blown England’s side of the draw wide open.

Russia secured a historic victory over Fernando Hierro’s star-studded side after Iago Aspas and Koke missed vital penalties during the shootout of their last-16 tie on Sunday.

The result sees Spain join fellow big-hitters Germany, Argentina and Portugal in suffering an early exit and also means they are still yet to beat the host nation of a major tournament. 

Russia sent Spain home from the World Cup after winning a penalty shootout on Sunday

Russia sent Spain home from the World Cup after winning a penalty shootout on Sunday

Sergio Ramos cries as Spain's coach Fernando Hierro comforts him after their last-16 exit

Sergio Ramos cries as Spain’s coach Fernando Hierro comforts him after their last-16 exit

The result has blown open the draw for England and their manager Gareth Southgate

The result has blown open the draw for England and their manager Gareth Southgate

RANKINGS OF TEAMS ON OTHER SIDE 

2 – Brazil 

3 – Belgium

7 – France

14 – Uruguay

15 – Mexico

61 – Japan

 

RANKINGS OF TEAMS ON ENGLAND’S SIDE 

6 – Switzerland 

12 – England

16 – Colombia

20 – Croatia 

24 – Sweden

70 – Russia 

 

Later on Sunday evening, Denmark succumbed to the same fate as Spain, with Croatia inflicting their own penalty-shootout victory.

For England, Russia’s victory has rid their route to the final of another high-profile roadblock. The Three Lions are now the only team on their side of the draw to have tasted World Cup glory before.

And while the likes of Belgium, Brazil, France and Uruguay battle it out for one spot in the final, the other team taking the field in Moscow on July 15 will be one of Russia, Croatia, Sweden, Colombia, Switzerland… or England.

There remain a number of dangerous sides in England’s way, however, not least world No 6 side Switzerland and Croatia, who have impressed so far in Russia.

The Three Lions face Colombia in the last-16 on Tuesday, with either Switzerland or Sweden waiting in the quarter-finals.

And despite the low burden of expectation on Gareth Southgate’s inexperienced side heading into the tournament, they are now the second-highest ranked side left on their side of the draw.

Only Switzerland are above England (12th), while Russia were outside the world’s top 70 teams before the summer showpiece kicked off.

Harry Kane and Co face Colombia for a place in the quarter-finals on Tuesday in Russia

Harry Kane and Co face Colombia for a place in the quarter-finals on Tuesday in Russia

Brazil are one of a number of much-fancied sides battling for one spot in the World Cup final

Brazil are one of a number of much-fancied sides battling for one spot in the World Cup final

PRE-TOURNAMENT ODDS TO WIN 

16/1 – England 

28/1 – Croatia

33/1 – Colombia

50/1 – Russia 

100/1 – Switzerland 

150/1 – Sweden 

CURRENT FAVOURITES TO WIN WORLD CUP

7/2 – France

7/2 – Brazil 

6/1 – England

6/1 – Belgium

13/2 – Croatia

12/1 – Uruguay

18/1 – Colombia 

And a glance at the pre-tournament odds suggests England are now favourites to go all the way to the final in Moscow.

Ahead of the opening game, Harry Kane and Co were seventh favourites (16/1) to win their second World Cup title, with the likes of Switzerland out at 100/1. Sweden, meanwhile, were 150/1.

Now, however, England (around 6/1) are third favourites to triumph in Russia behind only France and Brazil….



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