Betting data from Betfair has reveals that 62.19% of UK punters have backed England to defeat Croatia in tonight’s semi-final despite almost 2 out of 3 British People think the Three Lions will make it to the final.
Should Gareth Southgate’s men progress against Croatia, they’ll be faced with the task of beating the 1998 World Cup winners France, who beat Belgium 1-0 in the first semi-final last night.
Confidence will be high in the England camp following their comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden in the quarter-final.
England have all 23 players available for selection, after Jamie Vardy recovered from a groin problem which kept him out of the victory over Sweden, while Jordan Henderson returned to training following a tight hamstring.
Fans and pundits alike took to Twitter to declare that they believe it could well be coming home: Alan Shearer, England legend, tweeted “Maybe, just maybe, this little thing is coming home…”
Maybe, just maybe, this little thing is coming home…. #bbcworldcup #england #itscominghome pic.twitter.com/7IZ7n6XyfX
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) July 7, 2018
Current World Cup top scorer Harry Kane will be looking to pull further away from the rest of the field, after Romelu Lukaku, his nearest rival on 4 goals, failed to score against a resilient French team.
Harry Kane knows that one goal in this match should be enough to secure The Golden Boot, having so far scored 6 goals in the tournament. If he were to extend his lead to 3 goals over Lukaku, then the Belgian striker would need at least a hat-trick in the 3rd place play-off match to have any chance of winning it.
Not everyone in the UK believes that England will reach the final, with 27.13% of bettors having backed Croatia to defy the odds and reach their first ever World Cup final.
Croatia look set to be without right-back Sime Vrsaljko for the match, while goalkeeper Danijel Subasic could also miss out after picking up a hamstring injury in the win against Russia.
If both players are absent for the match, those who backed Croatia may start to have a change of heart, given how important these two have been for the defence.
Croatia have failed to win a knockout match in 120 minutes in the tournament so far, having relied on penalties to overcome both Denmark and Russia. This may explain why 10.68% of punters have put a bet on a draw after 90 minutes.
England have also been forced to progress via a penalty shootout after Colombia held them to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes. Jordan Pickford produced a magnificent save to deny Carlos Bacca from scoring Colombia a fifth and final penalty. Eric Dier followed that up by scoring the winning penalty for England.
Tonight’s match will be a close encounter and hopefully the UK’s belief in England will help guide them to their second ever final. Could it really be coming home?