UK & Ireland Football

England v Slovakia: Expect goals at Wembley

Internationals RSS / / 26 March 2009 / Leave a Comment

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Fabio Capello's team deserve to be favourites on Saturday afternoon but Slovakia are no mugs and this could well be a close, high-scoring contest, says Ed Nicholson.

England head their World Cup qualifying group with four wins from four matches. They have looked a most accomplished side in gaining those victories and have scored 12 goals and conceded just three times.

However, Slovakia are leading their World Cup qualifying group too with three wins from their four games, having scored eight goals and conceded five times. They are ranked 53rd in the latest FIFA World rankings, dropping from a high of 45 back in November. England are officially ranked the eighth best team in the World having been 10th in late 2008.

Recent games involving Slovakia have seen plenty of goals
. There last seven contests have all been over 2.5 goal affairs. They have contested 16 friendly Internationals since September 2005, nine of which have been over 2.5 goal games. Of those 16 games only three have been on foreign soil and two of those were over 2.5 game contests.

England on the other hand have played 17 friendlies since November 2005 and they have participated in ten over 2.5 game contests. In total England have been involved in seven over 2.5 goals in ten home friendlies during this time.

A depleted England side lost 2-0 in Spain but prior to that they managed a 1-2 victory in Germany and a 1-3 win in Belarus. Their last home International friendly came in May 2008 when they beat USA 2-0 and prior to that they beat Switzerland 2-1.

The difficulty in placing a bet on this type of fixture is knowing how each manger will approach the match. Capello has tended, unlike his predecessors, to stick to a fairly solid 11 players for each game whether it be a World Cup match or a friendly International - he seems to be a strong believer in the momentum and confidence strategies discussed in this column in previous week's.

And although he was forced to play several fringe players in Spain due to injuries, the news is that he may experiment with his line up against Slovakia, and that may be sensible given he needs to ensure he has his best players available injury-free on Wednesday night. Rumours are that Aaron Lennon, Leighton Baines and Carlton Cole will start - all more than capable of making and scoring goals.

But with quality, in-form players like David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney all due to play there is a strong chance of goals, especially as Slovakia play attacking open football and wont sit back.

Recommendation:

Despite this being a friendly International and team news being very important, at this stage I will be playing the over 2.5 goal option while I will also have a saver on the 2-0 England win to small stakes.

2pts England v Slovakia over 2.5 goals @ 1.81
0.33pts England v Slovakia 2-0 England @ 6.8

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