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Australia and England to set up World Cup showdown

The World Cup is down to the final four with England still in the running to be crowned champions for the first time.

Australia and New Zealand have contested the past three finals but there will be at least one new team in the December 2 showpiece.

Pre-tournament dark horses Tonga have beaten the Kiwis along the way and are out to cause another upset when they take on England on Saturday.

Wayne Bennett's side are aiming to become the first England team to reach the final since 1995 but face two major obstacles if they are to emulate the Great Britain sides of '54, '60 and '72.

We have studied the odds ahead of the semi-finals and in our double, a £10 stake will return around £44 if the recommended bets come in.

Australia to overcome a 27.5-point handicap against Fiji @ 11/10

Ten-time champions Australia have made serene progress on their way to a third successive semi-final meeting with the Bati. Ominously, the Kangaroos have conceded only one try since Jermaine McGillvary's fifth-minute effort in the opening game of the World Cup.

No side scored more points than Fiji in the group stage and they produced the biggest shock of the tournament by knocking out 2008 winners New Zealand in the quarters. History is not on Fiji's side though - they lost 52-0 and 64-0 at this stage in 2008 and 2013 respectively - and although they are a better side this year, they will not be able to halt the Australian juggernaut.

England to overcome a 7.5-point handicap against Tonga @ 11/10

Bennett's team were expected to reach the last four and they have done just that with a bit to spare. Tonga, with Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita among the big-name defectors in their squad, were also highly fancied to reach the semis and they managed to surpass expectations by topping Group B. In doing so they avoided Australia's half of the draw and will never get a better chance to reach the final.

England have been scratchy so far and will have to deliver their best performance of the tournament to book their place in the final. Tonga will be backed by a passionate crowd in Auckland but they showed signs of nerves in their narrow win over Lebanon. Although it may not be pretty, England will get the job done.

Click on the link to view all the BetStars rugby league odds

Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in Rugby League