Jamie Pacheco has cast his eye over the best of the Same-Game Multi bets for England v Panama and has come up with one involving Raheem Sterling and first half goals...
"There were positives and negatives from that win over Tunisia. Let’s start with the obvious: they got the win. In a tournament format that’s worth a lot more than playing well and leaving with anything less than three points, especially when it’s the first game."
The feature to pick your own same game selections was recently added to the Betfair Sportsbook. That means picking two or more events that you think will happen within the same game and playing them like a regular multi, except of course the events apply to the one game rather than several different sports games. You can have a look at a selection of the most popular ones by clicking on the #OTT tab of the game. Or you can do just like I'm about to and just select your own. Here's why I'm going with these two picks ahead of England v Panama.
There were positives and negatives from that win over Tunisia. Let's start with the obvious: they got the win. In a tournament format that's worth a lot more than playing well and leaving with anything less than three points, especially when it's the first game.
Other positives were the fact that the newish system seems to be working quite well. The trio of centre-backs seem to be enjoying it and Kieran Trippier got forward a fair bit. Ashley Young needs to start doing more of that himself. Then of course there was the goalscoring form of Harry Kane. If he keeps going England can start dreaming. With all due respect, Panama are just glad to be in Russia and we saw in the Belgium game that they're not quite equipped to handle the big guns just yet. England should be too good for them and have one foot in the Last 16.
England rarely do thrillers at big tournaments. Even the 3-2 win over Sweden back in 2012 was a medicore game that just happened to have goals rather than a spectacle of attacking football. Their defence should be eyeing up a clean sheet bonus here (if they actually get them at international level). Since the start of the 2017/18 season, including the Tunisia game, they kept seven out of eleven. If they can do it against the likes of Thomas Muller, Mesuz Ozil, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and the back-in-form Memphis Depay they can probably keep one here against a Panama attack that was rather toothless in their opening game.
But I don't expect England to be free-scoring either. Bar Kane no-one in the squad really has a great record at international level and most of the more attacking players are actually struggling for form, let alone goals. 1-0 or at most 2-0, should be more than enough.
The raids of Trippier down that right flank should help England get a fair few corners as does the fact that they seem to like playing for them. That's not that surprising. In Harry Maguire, Gary Cahill and Harry Kane they have three goalscoring threats from set pieces right there so if they can get one rather than keeping the ball in-play, they will.
The stats suggest we'll get at least 10. After all, that's happened in their previous three games before that Tunisia one. In that one, they fell just one short of 10 corners in the match; there were nine. The Same Game Multi pays 4.43.
Apparently, Raheem Sterling isn't going to start. Apparently he's going to be dropped in favour of Marcus Rashford. Apparently someone saw a note carried by Assistant Manager Steve Holland with the team sheet where the Man City man wasn't there but the United youngster was.
I'm not buying it. Sterling had a brilliant season and deserves more respect and patience than to be dropped after one quiet game. It's even less likely given that Dele Alli may miss the game and that another youngster in Ruben Loftus-Cheek would be in pole position to deputise for the Spurs forward. I can't see Southgate playing two such inexperienced players in a game like this, though I see Rio Ferdinand disagrees.
Sterling's record at international level is notoriously poor. But he'll get few better chances to add to his tally than this one. Given the amount of criticism he's received for all manner of things over the past few months, he'll be out to prove a point. He may just do that.
England might start strongly score here; they are after all carrying momentum from that late winner during the week. Stating the obvious but a first-half goal will allow them to dominate proceedings and under Southgate that's what they've looked to do.
There's been a first half goal in each of the Three Lions' last four games. Let's hope for another.