The weight of money and weight of expectation that had maintained England at a falsely short price as second-favourites to win the tournament was at last blown away by Argentina's footballing masterclass yesterday. They now displace England as the second favourites at 4-1 with all the leading bookmakers, while Eriksson's men are out to a top-priced 7-1 with Coral.
Brazil remain favourites at 3-1, but have been eased after their low-key performance against Croatia and could be deposed from the head of the market by their South American rivals if they give another weak display against Australia on Sunday.
Coral's David Stevens said: "If we did not have significant pre-tournament liabilities on Brazil, Argentina would have replaced them as outright favourites."
Robin Hutchison, spokesman for Ladbrokes, said: "After Argentina had won we put up 4-1 and immediately began laying it. There's no reason why it won't be 7-2 very quickly."
Totesport are the only firm to place Argentina alongside Brazil as 100-30 joint favourites and the firm's Paul Petrie said: "Argentina have made a mockery of the so called Group of Death and set the standard for others to follow.
"Their performance also emphasises the importance of England winning their group in order not to clash with the Argentines." That would happen in the quarter-final if England finish runner-up in Group B and both sides win their second-round matches
Petrie added: "On current form if the two teams were to meet tomorrow we would make England 9-5 shots with Argentina the 5-4 favourites so it is imperative that England win their group and avoid a clash."Reuse content