Belgium and England were expected to dominate in almost all World Cup 2018 Group G predictions and few will be altering that view after the opening round of games.
The Red Devils hold the upper hand after beating Panama 3-0 and were cut to 57/100 to finish top of the table as a result.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions needed a stoppage-time Harry Kane header to edge out Tunisia 2-1 and were eased slightly to 13/10 to end up at the summit.
We’ve already posted our World Cup 2018 Group G betting tips for the second round of fixtures and again expect the big two to prevail.
Standings Group G
Southgate hailed the spirit, togetherness and composure shown by England as they eventually overcame a stubborn Tunisia in Volgograd.
Kane’s opportunist opener was cancelled out when Ferjani Sassi netted from a penalty controversially awarded by referee Wilmar Roldan for a wayward arm by Kyle Walker.
However, the Tottenham striker came to the rescue with another poacher’s goal in the closing stages of the contest.
“Even at 1-1 I was really proud of the performance,” the England boss said.
“I think the performance was very good, we created a lot of clear-cut chances in the first half, as many as I remember us having.
“If there’s to be anything levelled at us, it would be to be ruthless with those.
“But we recovered from a harsh decision and kept our composure, which pleased me.
“And in the second half we dominated the game, kept our patience and looked for good opportunities, rather than just throwing the ball in the box and hoping.”
Opposite number Nabil Maaloul commented: “We played much better in the second half, but it was God’s will after all.”
|Belgium vs Panama||3 - 0||Fisht Stadium|
|Tunisia vs England||1 - 2||Volgograd Stadium|
|Belgium vs Tunisia||Spartak Stadium|
|England vs Panama||Nizhny Novgorod Stadium|
|Panama vs Tunisia||Mordovia Arena|
|England vs Belgium||Kaliningrad Stadium|
Belgium were lethargic in the first period against Panama but settled into a better rhythm once Dries Mertens had fired in a fine volley just after the interval.
Romelu Lukaku then wrapped up victory with a double strike, aided by assists from Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
Roberto Martinez said: “It was exactly what we expected – there are no easy games at the World Cup.
“We started very well but then became frustrated as the first half wore on.
“But I was delighted in the way the team reacted and the commitment everyone showed to keep a clean sheet.
“In the second half, we found our composure and the goal from Dries Mertens, a great goal, was so important for us.
“In a World Cup, you have to play for 90 minutes and we had to be prepared to work hard, show maturity and real togetherness.”
Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez stated: “It was an incredible experience for our country and I think that our performance was not bad.
“You’re never happy when you lose but I told my players that they lost with dignity. We will keep growing and learning.”