Last night marked England’s 1000th international as a senior team and that, in itself, is an achievement. Thankfully the even bigger achievement was qualifying for UEFA Euro 2020, and they did so in style with an utterly ruthless display of attacking force in the form of a 7-0 battering against Montenegro. The punishment started early as England got into a rhythm within a matter of minutes, and by half time, the Three Lions managed to stick five past their opposition – and they only needed a point to get themselves over the finish line in the first place.
Beth Mead and Leah Williamson are two names that some of you may not have heard of before the summer, and that’s okay. Not everyone enjoys, or can even find a way to watch women’s football (despite the fact that it’s actually really good). Over the course of the last few weeks these two warriors have been a part of England’s journey through the Women’s World Cup, and after their convincing win over Norway, that journey is going to continue on into the semi-finals of the tournament.
When veteran Switzerland international Stephan Lichtsteiner joined Arsenal from Juventus as a free agent in the summer, most Gunners fans assumed that he would be back-up for first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin.
True to form, that is what has happened, as the new arrival has played just 55 minutes as a substitute in the Gunners season opener against Manchester City. The 34-year-old was expecting to compete with Bellerin for the right-back spot.
He told the Standard: “I could have changed to five other clubs in the summer, knowing that I would certainly play 47 out of 50 serious matches,”
Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck has vowed to keep working hard and prove he merits a place in the England squad. The former Manchester United striker appeared as a substitute in the Three Lions 2-1 home defeat by Spain.
In fact, he was highly unfortunate not to equalise in stoppage-time when he saw a goal harshly disallowed for what looked like a non-existent foul on Spain goalkeeper David De Gea.
In England squad by default
Welbeck is a decent attacking option for England boss Gareth Southgate. However, he almost just a default option for the Three Lions boss, who currently has a dearth of quality attacking cover for first-choice striker Harry Kane.
Verdict: Belgium Win
Best Odds: 6/5
On Saturday afternoon, Belgium and England meet in the World Cup 2018 third-place play-off game in Saint Petersburg. Neither side will have wanted to participate in this game, but both will be keen to end their adventures in Russia on a high.
For much of World Cup 2018, Belgium has looked like a team that could lift the trophy. In fact, the Red Devils were unbeaten in 24 games heading into their semi-final with France, only to suffer a 1-0 defeat against Les Bleus.
England’s World Cup journey came to an unfortunate end the other night when they lost 2-1 after extra time to Croatia in their semi-final. It was a heartbreaking way for things to end for a team who had given it everything they had over the course of their time at the tournament, but in all honesty, we feel more pride than we’ve ever felt for an England team before.
In case you hadn’t heard or have been living under a rock, England are playing in a World Cup semi-final today against Croatia for the right to face France in the final. That’s not a joke and that’s not some kind of wind-up ahead of the new domestic season, because it’s true. While we fully understand that the title of this video will probably confuse some of you given that most people reading this are likely English, there’s always a chance that you haven’t been fully embracing the World Cup fever that’s been sweeping across the nation.
Prediction: Croatia win
Best Odds: 5/2
We’ve arrived at the semi-final stage of 2018 FIFA World Cup, and very few people could’ve imagined that this would be the final four we’d end up with. France, Belgium, Croatia and England are all in with a phenomenal chance of becoming world champions, but only one nation can fulfil that prophecy. The French and the Belgians will kick things off tonight, and then tomorrow, the second place in the World Cup final will be determined as dark horses Croatia and England battle it out.
Best Odds: 23/10
On Saturday afternoon, Sweden and England clash in the quarter-finals of World Cup 2018. Neither has made the last four of a World Cup in recent history, so both will see this as a big opportunity to move into the latter stages of the competition.
Sweden have been one of the surprise-packages of World Cup 2018. The Scandinavians needed a play-off against Italy to qualify for the finals. However, Janne Andersson’s side has won three of their four games in Russia. In the last-16 they recorded a 1-0 win over Switzerland courtesy of a goal from Emil Forsberg.
Verdict: England Win
Best Odds: 11/10
On Tuesday night, Colombia and England go head-to-head for a place in the last 16 of the World Cup. Colombia made the last eight last time out, but the Three Lions have not played in the World Cup quarter-final since 2006. It is a massive game for both teams.
Colombia recovered from a defeat in their opening group games to defeat Poland and Senegal top Group H. The highly-rated South American team have been on a run of unconvincing form of late, as they failed to win any of their three warm-up games heading into Russia 2018.