The start of the 2018 World Cup is approaching -- it begins June 14 -- but there's still plenty of time to lock in future bets. Knowing the latest news can help you make smarter picks.
England and Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered knee ligament damage in the Champions League semifinal first leg against AS Roma. His season is over for both club and national team as he will not return to action until next season. England’s coach, Gareth Southgate, must now reconsider his options and think fast. At the end of March, he declared he already has 20 of the 23 slots filled and that he will name the 23-man squad before the remaining friendlies in order to limit anxiety. Liverpool’s James Milner might come out of international retirement and replace the Ox. He has been brilliant all season in both Premier League and Champions League action, breaking the record for most assists in UCL with nine. England specials: Raheem Sterling, England Top Goalscorer at +800 with SkyBet.
Belgium's Batshuayi Out for Season
Dortmund and Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi is set to miss the rest of the season after scans revealed he sustained a serious ankle injury during a loss to Schalke. Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke was on the waiting list and despite his indifferent form for Crystal Palace in the Premier League he might make the cut. He has three fixtures left to impress Belgium coach Roberto Martinez before he selects his World Cup roster. Belgium has the necessary weapons to make a deep run. Belgium specials: To reach Final at +500 with BetVictor.
Aguero's Condition a Concern for Argentina
Premier League champion Sergio Aguero will miss the rest of his domestic season after having minor knee surgery. He was expected to be one of the main stars for Argentina at the World Cup but team doctor Homero D’Agostino has issued an update saying the Citizens' forward will not arrive in Russia fully fit having completed an arthroscope. Juventus Paulo Dybala and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi are ready to take Aguero's place. Argentina specials: To win Group D at -142 with Betfair.
World Cup Notes
- Brazil’s Neymar has targeted May 17 for a return to action after having an operation on his foot earlier this season. He expects to be fully fit and find his best shape just before the tournament.
- Sweden coach Janne Andersson said LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibramovic will “definitely not” be part of the 23-player roster. Without him, Sweden was brilliant in the European qualification campaign, finishing second in its group and knocking out Italy in the playoffs.
- Arsenal and Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny will be fully fit for the World Cup despite rolling his ankle during Arsenal’s Premier League fixture against West Ham.