All of England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland will all still fancy their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia following the latest international break, with only Scotland struggling to make an impact in their respective group. England’s odds to qualify have improved significantly following a comfortable victory over Gordon Strachan’s men at Wembley, with interim boss Gareth Southgate expected to be names as the permanent successor to Sam Allardyce following his brief spell in charge of the national team. Having all enjoyed their Euro 2016 experiences in France this summer, Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be hoping for another taste of a major tournament, with all three teams nicely placed in the current standings.
Following their win over their old foe Scotland, and a promising draw with Spain, England are being installed as the overwhelming 1/12 on favourites with bookmakers Coral to progress automatically from their qualifying group for the finals in 2018. The likes of Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana have been in fine form for both club and country so far this season, with Southgate undoubtedly hoping that he will be given the opportunity to win a first major tournament since 1966 for England. Meanwhile, with many calling for Gordon Strachan to stand down from his role as manager, Scotland are major outsiders to qualify, with current odds of 100/1. The Scots have just one win from four qualifying fixtures to date, with their encounter against Slovenia in March now looking like a must win.
Meanwhile, despite many writing off their chances when the draw was made, Northern Ireland have made a good start to life in group C, with only World Champions Germany ahead of Michael O’Neill’s side. Northern Ireland claimed their first ever European Championship victory over Ukraine in France this summer, and are alongside rivals Czech Republic at 20/1 with Coral to qualify for the finals.
With little separating the top teams in Group D, both Wales and Ireland know they have a long way to go in order to confirm their participation in Russia, with Martin O’Neill’s Ireland currently sitting pretty in the standings having gone unbeaten in their first four matches, most recently collecting a vital three points away in Austria. Having famously reached the semi-finals at Euro 2016, Chris Coleman’s Wales have struggled to reach the same levels during the campaign so far, with one win and three draws leaving them in third place. Wales face a trip to Dublin next up in what could well be a titanic battle, with Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale once again holding the hopes of a nation on his shoulders.