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World Cup 2020 odds • 9-1 England are favourite to win ITN Sky Bet international football football prediction.
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Tournament hosts have been a short-term but dangerous gambling play for dozens of years, but this week the players will return from their winter break and quickly discover that their World Cup preparations are about to get a lot less effective.
Think about it: at some point before England meet Colombia next Monday, José Mourinho will do his best impression of Gary Lineker and utter the immortal phrase: “Can we now go to work?”
It will be difficult to get a passing sense of any of the other 12 teams out there. Just as Eden Hazard has done at times this season, however, France and Belgium look to be the two best sides while perhaps Croatia and Russia will stay as is.
Few will think that running a risk and betting on that isn’t the way to go. But while Wayne Rooney turned his youthful World Cup sojourn into a new career for £7m in 1999 and then bought his second property in Miami for £24m that same year, it is rapidly becoming obvious that the World Cup isn’t the be-all and end-all for some players.
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The first International friendly of the season can be played in the same vein as the professional match: the US women’s team have been given a paid holiday by FIFA, which they can freely use for anything other than training and taking a selfie. That doesn’t mean that the players are playing “no risks”, but it should at least be noted.