Euro 2024

England v Slovenia: Three Lions to come good in day of reckoning

Jordan Pickford, England
Pickford has impressed between the sticks

Ste Tudor assesses England's final group game, focusing on four players expected to feature strongly...

England Superboost

Gareth Southgate's men have flown out of the blocks in both Group C encounters at Euro 2024, playing on the front foot from the first whistle and scoring early against both Serbia and Denmark.

We think England will start strongly again tonight, and because we like to play different, we're happy to pay out on another fast start for the Three Lions.

So if you fancy England to register at least one shot in the first 10 minutes against Slovenia this evening, then take advantage of our super-boosted price of 1/12.00 (from 1/41.25) now.

Football Only Bettor Euros Daily Podcast - Listen to Tuesday's tips here!

It's an onerous task raking through the ashes of two immensely disappointing England displays but it must be done, if only to forecast how Gareth Southgate intends to right so many wrongs.

Structural issues suggest a change of formation awaits. Performance issues absolutely demand personnel changes.

Going forward, Harry Kane has had precisely two touches inside the opposition box while Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham have taken it in turns to have stinkers. There is also an issue with England focusing so many of their attacks down the right, due to their other flank inhabited solely by an out-of-sorts 33-year-old right-back.

On the rare occasions they have shown ambition it's left the Three Lions predictable in possession.

At the back meanwhile, Southgate's struggling collective faced 16 shots against Denmark, in part because of a malfunctioning press. On average the Danes were afforded 25 passes before defensive action was taken.

All of which suggests that significant changes are afoot but in truth second-guessing Southgate can be a fool's errand. Far better then to highlight three England players guaranteed to start against Slovenia on Tuesday, who all have a major part to play.

As for the opposition threat, he's young, 6ft 5, and likes to fire one off from range. England should be on their guard.

Saving grace

Two games in, Jordan Pickford has made seven saves from eight shots on target, the other an Exocet missile that was fired through a cluster of legs and went in off the post.

The Everton stopper may be receiving the odd brickbat for his route one clearances but when he's needed between the sticks he's delivering.

This is a continuation of his club form, Pickford boasting the second best save percentage in the top-flight last term, and with a recently remodeled England back-line struggling to cut out threats from source we can expect him to feature again.

In their opening two contests, Slovenia racked up 22 attempts on goal, scoring twice and hitting the woodwork twice.

Pertinently, they have taken on five more shots than England.

Marked man

If Jude Bellingham was dropped this Tuesday, mountains would crumble and Rio Ferdinand's apoplectic rant would scare the nation's children through the telly.

Thankfully the chances of the Real Madrid megastar taking the hit for England's poor outings lies between nil and zero.

Where the generational talent plays however is up for debate, with many believing he might revert to a number 6 and if this transpires it will impact on his output in the final third.

From his six starts playing more advanced, Bellingham has accrued six goal involvements. That plummets to three in 16 when starting in a deeper role.

Wherever he is deployed though, the 20-year-old will be a marked man in Cologne for sure. Bellingham has been fouled five times in 176 minutes at the Euros and furthermore, Slovenia aren't shy at the physical stuff.

Matjaz Kek's side have fouled every 7.2 minutes so far.

A pressing issue

England's passivity out of possession is a root cause of their recent problems, a woeful press inviting pressure and keeping them pinned for long spells in their own half.

This will have been prioritized at Blankenhain since arriving back at their base camp late Thursday night.

With Harry Kane undroppable but also one of the worst practitioners of England's press it is imperative that Southgate finds a way of getting energetic runners around him. That brings Anthony Gordon into the conversation. Failing that, a reconfigured Foden and Saka.

kane trippier.jpg

Whoever is selected, it also leads us to an interesting bet, because typically we focus on Kane's goal-scoring and understandably so. But back in the day, alongside Sterling and Rashford, and at times recently, benefiting from Saka making quick inroads, Kane has also thrived as a creator for his country.

Let's not forget, England's record goal-scorer assisted more than he converted at Qatar '22.

Walker and Stones beware

Benjamin Sesko went into the tournament widely tipped to impress having fired 14 in 31 for RB Leipzig last season. Notably, his tally came from a 1.5 shots per 90 average that was considerably lower to that of his fellow Leipzig attackers. Ultimately, his unerring accuracy told.

We are only two games in to Euro 2024 but already we're seeing those figures flip, the 6ft 5 striker taking on an improved two shots per game but still to convert. Boy has he come close though, whistling one just wide, hitting the post, and seeing an effort saved.

In truth, against Serbia, the young forward didn't overly stand out, with little tried coming off. It was in his tournament debut where we saw how dangerous and intelligent Sesko can be, drifting in from the left and causing Denmark all manner of problems.

Six ground duels won that afternoon is not to be sniffed at either.

Read Alan Shearer's exclusive Euro column here

Recommended bets

New Customers can get £50 in free bets!

Available to new customers only. Place a £10 bet on the Betfair Sportsbook and you will receive £50 in free bets to use on Bet Builders and Accas! Opt-in here and T&cs apply.

Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.