Spain’s defeat clears path for fresh face in final
Spain’s defeat by Russia on penalties in the World Cup round of 16 on Sunday ensured that at least one of this year’s finalists will not have reached the title decider for half a century, if at all
Moscow: Spain’s defeat by Russia on penalties in the World Cup round of 16 on Sunday ensured that at least one of this year’s finalists will not have reached the title decider for half a century, if at all.
Former finalists England, who played their only final in 1966 that they won, and Sweden, who lost to Brazil at home in the 1958 final, are still in the half of the draw vacated by the 2010 champions.
The odds on England winning the World Cup for a second time were immediately cut from 6-1 to 5-1 after Russia’s victory, making them third favourites behind France (7-2) and Brazil (4-1) with bookmaker William Hill.
Also still alive in their section of the draw are Croatia who have one previous semi-final finish. They will face Russia in the quarter-finals.
Russia will be hoping to continue to benefit from the hosts’ dividend to better the single semi-final appearance that the Soviet Union achieved in 1966.
Switzerland, the quarter-finalists from 1954 on home soil, take on the Swedes on Tuesday in St. Petersburg with the winners going on to face England or Colombia.
The last addition to the group of 12 nations who have contested World Cup finals was Spain in 2010.
France, the 1998 winners, beat Argentina to reach the quarter-finals and are in the other half of the draw with Brazil and Uruguay, the three having competed in 11 finals between them