After a lot of huffing and puffing and positivity ultimately England are the only team from Britain and Ireland to qualify for the World Cup. Of course they came through an easy group but the other four nations did not have to beat world beaters to progress to the finals in Russia next year. Scotland were always way off the pace, Wales were agonisingly close and the two Irelands fell by the wayside after the last challenge of the playoffs. England will be are playing in the finals and the others will not.
In the context of next summer England’s two goalless draws against the top two teams in the FIFA rankings are difficult to assess. Germany were missing seven of their first eleven but Brazil fielded the team that will probably start their first match in the finals, barring injuries. Commitment and motivation are questionable in friendlies but Brazil were trying and wanted to win the fixture. On balance the two matches were a good exercise for ENGLAND but the 20/1 with William Hill to win the World Cup says it all….but at least they are in the mix unlike the others!
Brazil now look a different side to the one that humiliatingly lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals of their own World Cup in 2014. The gung-ho approach from that match has been replaced by more discipline but the flair players are still operating in midfield and up front. Germany know how to play in tournaments like the back of their hands but FRANCE have everything to win the World Cup for the second time and the first time out of heir own country. They are the ante post bet at 6/1 with Paddy Power. Italy and Holland will be staying at home this time.
The bigger the field the bigger the certainty they say and the novices’ hurdle at Bangor (2.20pm) has attracted 13 runners. As long as some of the inferior horses don’t get in the way The Cap Fits should prevail. The horse showed decent form in bumpers last season and has already won a similar race so the banker racing bet of today is THE CAP FITS at 4/7 with Ladbrokes.