Football Tips

England v San Marino: Back Watkins to strike in Wembley goalfest

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
England manager Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate's England should run up a big score against San Marino

"Watkins has a great opportunity to mark his first England cap with a goal on Thursday and I'll back him to do just that... "

England play San Marino at Wembley on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier and Max Liu recommends a few bets on the goals and goalscorer markets...

Is it just me or when you hear the words "England", "San Marino" and "World Cup qualifier", do you immediately think of Stuart Pearce under-hitting a backpass to David Seaman in 1993?

Younger readers can see what I mean here but the goal - scored by Davide Gualtieri after 8.33 seconds - is etched on the memory of many a Three Lions fan.

England eventually won 7-1 that night and, 28 years later, our match previewer Paul Higham has recommended backing over 7.5 goals at around evens on Thursday.

1280 Harry Kane England 2020.jpg

With England's strength in attack these days, in spite of their topsy-turvy autumn, that bet may well come in at Wembley. England have played San Marino six times (four were World Cup qualifiers) and the slimmest margin of victory was 5-0.

Gualtieri's strike is the only goal San Marino have ever managed against England and Franco Varrella's men recently failed to score against Gibraltar, Latvia and Liechtenstein.

They haven't found the net for over two years which explains the 11/2 available on Both Teams to Score tomorrow.

How many are England going to win by?

It's easy to get carried away and anticipate a big score against San Marino (I mean a really big score - over 7-0, say) but it doesn't always materialise.

In 2019, they lost 9-0 to Belgium but their worst defeat in 2020 was a 4-0 to Slovenia, although admittedly they didn't play any of Europe's top teams across the year.

England are favourites to win this summer's Euro 2020 but the last time they truly thumped an opponent was the 7-0 win over Montenegro in November 2019. Their biggest win in 2020 was the 4-0 against Iceland which was also their most recent outing.

They come into this World Cup qualifying campaign needing to find momentum and purpose in time for the Euros and with fresh faces vying to make a late run for inclusion in the squad.

One of those is striker Ollie Watkins who scored on his Aston Villa debut earlier this season.

Watkins has a great opportunity to mark his first England cap with a goal on Thursday and I'd back him to do just that when the market is available.

I also like the 9/2 on 'Tie' in the Half With Most Goals market - it would have come in against Iceland.

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