Football Football
Horse Racing Horse Racing
Cricket Cricket
Basketball Basketball
Golf Golf

World Cup betting: Could travel harm England’s hopes?

24 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
World Cup betting: Could travel harm England’s hopes?

History suggests that a marathon tour of Russia in the first round will make getting out of Group G much trickier than it seems.

Red cards, disallowed goals and penalties are all reasons why England haven’t won the World Cup in the last 52 years.

This summer, another could be added to the list: travel.

While the draw has been kind to the Three Lions, pitting them against Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G, the location of their three group-stage fixtures means the path to the knock-out rounds is much trickier than it seems.

Gareth Southgate’s decision to set up camp in the northern town of Repino – made before the fixtures were made in December – looks questionable, with his side now facing a 6,542 km tour of Russia in the first round alone.

That’s 1,253 km further than the average round trip, and the 11th-longest that any team will face.

In comparison, Colombia – who England could face in the last 16 if they do progress – will travel just 1,226 km, the shortest distance of any team.

The Three Lions are {ODDS:216360477:16/1} in the latest football betting odds to lift the trophy, but history isn’t on their side.

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, just five of the 13 teams that travelled further than the average distance in the group stage advanced to the last 16 (38 per cent). Only Costa Rica made it to the quarter finals.

Of the 19 sides that travelled below the average distance, 11 reached the last 16 (58 per cent). That list includes the remaining seven quarter-finalists, all four semi-finalists, runners-up Argentina and winners Germany.

Many England fans would be content with a quarter- or semi-final exit in Russia.

Yet progression from the group stage is no formality, even though games against Tunisia and Panama are expected to yield routine wins.

Those two nations will travel the third- and fourth- shortest distance of all 32 nations this summer.

Tunisia’s decision to train in Moscow means they will head just 35 miles to and from their second game of the tournament, with their total round trip a meagre 2,945 km.

Panama will rack up just 3,025 km in total, thanks in part to the fact that they are based in Saransk – the site of their third game.

Remarkably, England’s journey to Volgograd and back for their Group G opener is longer than both Tunisia and Panama’s total round trip for the group stage.

Both of those sides will fancy their chances of qualifying for the knock-out rounds, given that the teams that faced the least demanding treks at the last World Cup fared well.

Seven of the eight teams that travelled the shortest distance in their group made it to the last-16 four years ago. (The only side that didn’t? England.)

Of the eight teams that travelled the furthest in their group, only three advanced, and none made it to the quarter-finals.

So while Argentina (2,056 km), Portugal (3746 km) France (3,866 km) should benefit from kind travel schedules this summer, England’s itinerary is another barrier for Southgate to overcome.

If they’re going to lift the trophy – or even win their first knock-out game since 2006 – they’ve got a long way to go.

The teams that should fare well:

Colombia {ODDS:216360479:50/1}: 1226 km round trip, the shortest in the group stage.

Argentina {ODDS:216360472:10/1}: 2056 km round trip, the second-shortest in the group stage.

Portugal {ODDS:216360480:25/1}: 3746 km round trip, the eighth-shortest in the group stage.

The teams that could struggle:

Egypt {ODDS:216360494:200/1}: 9102 km round trip, the longest in the group stage.

Brazil {ODDS:216360474:9/2}: 7388 km round trip, the fifth-longest in the group stage.

England {ODDS:216360477:16/1}: 6690 km round trip, the 11th-longest in the group stage.