England v Poland: Kane to fire fast start at Wembley against weakened opponents

England striker Harry Kane
England striker Harry Kane can score against Poland

Paul Higham says England will get ahead early and stay there against Poland at Wembley on Wednesday.

"There’s been a goal inside half-and-hour in Poland’s last four games, and with England able to start fast there could be another early strike on Wednesday."

Back England to be ahead at 30 minutes @ 2.26/5

England v Poland
Wednesday 31 March 19:45 BST kick-off
Live on ITV

England going about their business nicely

We go again! They really are packing in these international games, and after England provided us with two winning wagers on Sunday, hopefully they can deliver again just as they have done on the pitch.

It's all been rather routine for England so far, Gareth Southgate really can't win in qualifiers as selections, or who he hasn't selected rather, will always be talking points and fans will always fancy big wins against the likes of Albania, but that 2-0 success in Tirana was efficient and professional enough for me.

The fact is Southgate is using the World Cup qualifiers as a training camp for the delayed Euro 2020 - and although he says he already knows his side for the big kick-off against Croatia on 13 June, there's a lot of football to be played before then.

Mason Mount has been the stand-out so far, while Nick Pope has made history by not conceding a goal yet in his six-game England career and must be putting Jordan Pickford under pressure. Next up is England's biggest test in the group.

No Lewandowski a big blow for Poland

1280 Robert Lewandowski Super Cup.jpg

Poland are England's biggest rivals in the group, but they'll play at Wembley without one of the best players on the planet in Robert Lewandowski as the Bayern Munich man is out injured.

Lewandowski had scored nine in nine for Poland and his absence not only gives the Poles a mountain to climb, but it's also robs Southgate of the chance to test his defence against one of the very best in the business.

Having a qualifying group that's such a walk in the park does little to prepare you for the cut and thrust of a major tournament - but having to deal with Lewandowski, who has bagged an eye-popping 42 goals for Bayern already this season, would have been great experience.

They've upset England before at Wembley of course, with that famous draw in 1973 costing the hosts a place at the 1974 World Cup. It'll be that much tougher without the talismanic striker though.

England big favourites against familiar foes

England seemingly draw Poland every time in World Cup qualifying, it's actually seven, which is a record in Europe. The Three Lions have been dominant with just one defeat in their last 19 meetings (W11 D7).

They've won their last seven at home against Poland and overall England have won 48 of their last 49 qualifying matches for major tournaments - with a 29-game unbeaten streak at home including a win in each of their last 19.

The Lewandowski news has only made them stronger favourites at 1.330/100 for victory, with Poland now out to 10.09/1 to pull off the upset away win and 5.04/1 to grab a draw at Wembley.

Poland don't lose too many of these, with just three defeats in 32 qualifiers (W23 D6), but a defence that's conceded at least twice in three of their last four (only keeping out Andorra) must be a worry against an England attack with 38 goals in their last 10 homes games.

England to score over 1.5 goals is 1.42/5 and even to score over 2.5 goals at 2.56/4 could be in play after Hungary managed to bag three at home against the Eagles last week.

Poland have scored in 10 of their last 14 away games and should still carry a threat even without Lewandowski, as they've bagged two or more in four of their last six on their travels, but the market is not so sure as they're 1.910/11 to score at Wembley while 'no' is favoured in the both teams to score at 1.654/6 - with yes at 2.26/5.

Back England to start fast

England should win this, Poland could make it uncomfortable for them at times and they should force England to do some genuine defending for once, but the big question is whether they can score without Lewandowski.

A fourth straight home 'win to nil' for England is 1.910/11 and will be popular - and that's a bet that not only came in for us on Sunday but has won in nine of their last 12 home games in all competitions.

If you're looking elsewhere, England have scored first in their last three games and have scored in the first half in eight of the last nine against Poland - with the Poles conceding a first-half goal in their last three away games.

Opta stat

Harry Kane has scored on six days of the week for England but never managed to do so on a Wednesday, failing in three different games on that day so far. Only Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney have scored on all seven days of the week for the Three Lions.

England being ahead at the break at 1.738/11 is on the shortlist as I expect a fast start, while the England/England double result is only marginally better at 1.834/5 and perhaps not worth the extra risk.

There's been a goal inside half-and-hour in Poland's last four games, and there should be early action here given how they play, while England have bagged in both halves in six of the last nine against the Poles - they're 1.910/11 to do so again.

Harry Kane was sharp against Albania and is an almost inevitable scorer, and overall this should be a good test for England with Poland able to give them a workout defensively, but an early home goal will also give their young forward line a rare chance to show what they can do on the break.

A home win is expected with a goal or two thrown in as well - with the jury out on whether the visitors can find the net.

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