Sport World Cup: England tipped by Australians to win tournament ahead of Belgium, France and Croatia

06:00  10 july  2018
06:00  10 july  2018 Source:   msn.com

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The England national football team has competed at the FIFA World Cup since 1950. The FIFA World Cup is the premier competitive international football tournament , first played in 1930

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Maybe it was the memes, or Gareth Southgate's canny management, or maybe some people just want to watch the world burn, but it looks like Australians are barracking for England to win the World Cup.

Having reached the semi-finals stage of the showpiece event in Russia, ABC asked its readers who they hoped would win the World Cup — and by some distance, they've opted for the Three Lions to end 52 years of hurt.

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On Saturday afternoon (July 7), the World Cup 2018 bracket took shape for the semifinals, as two more teams advanced. France and Belgium had already punched their tickets after quarterfinals wins . That left two more games, with England taking on Sweden, and Russia battling Croatia .

England comes in with 40.3 per cent of the vote — the majority among the four teams — ahead of Belgium's 28.67 per cent, Croatia at 19.32 per cent and France's 11.71 per cent.

Arguably the favourites on paper to win the title lie on the other side of the draw, with France and Belgium duking it out for a spot in the decider.

Those two sides come together on Thursday at 4:00am (AEST), while France and Belgium contest the first semi-final the day before, also at 4:00am.

England's Harry Maguire celebrates scoring a goal with John Stones. © Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins England's Harry Maguire celebrates scoring a goal with John Stones. But England will fancy itself against a technically excellent Croatia side, especially given its formidable strength on set pieces.

England's biggest gamble came in its final group-stage clash, against Belgium, where it rotated its side in a stodgy 1-0 loss to the Red Devils, but conceding first place in Group G appeared to put Southgate's side on the easier side of the draw.

The Three Lions had a tough fixture against Colombia to see out — won on penalties after a 1-1 draw — but it opened the door for a run to the semis thanks to a meet-up with Sweden, which England won 2-0 without too much fuss.

Now it all comes down to the do-or-die clash with Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in only its third-ever World Cup semi-final, following a win in 1966 en route to winning its only title, and a loss to West Germany in 1990.

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