Belfast Telegraph

England’s route to glory at the 2018 World Cup

A look at the Three Lions’ potential route to the final on July 15.

England lost 1-0 to Belgium on Thursday night to finish second in Group G.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the Three Lions’ potential route to the final, using the world rankings to determine opponents from the quarter-finals onwards.

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PA Graphics

v Colombia, last 16

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Radamel Falcao leads the Colombia attack (Frank Augstein/AP)

Jose Pekerman’s men topped Group H despite losing their opening game against Japan, and looked very impressive in a 3-0 win against Poland. James Rodriguez, the star of Colombia’s run to the quarter-finals in 2014, will hope to be fit to face the Three Lions.

v Switzerland, quarter-finals

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Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri is one of the best-known Swiss players to England fans (Antonio Calanni/AP)

The world rankings suggest the Swiss would get the better of Sweden in the last 16, but England would certainly prefer this to an encounter with Brazil, which would have likely been their fate if they had managed to top Group G.

v Spain, semi-finals

The 2010 winners at their best can still pass teams off the pitch, but Portugal demonstrated their weaknesses and even Iran had them rattled. The rankings suggest Fernando Hierro’s men could reach this stage by beating Russia and Croatia.

v Brazil, final

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Will Neymar be celebrating on July 15 in Moscow? (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

There’s just no avoiding Brazil, the highest-ranked team left in the competition after Germany’s exit. The South Americans would have to get past Mexico, Belgium and Portugal to get this far, but they have the pedigree to do it.

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