England V Egypt: International Friendly – Is second guessing Fabio Capello a mugs game?

1st March 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

England V Egypt


Wednesday, 3rd March – 20:00 GMT (ITV1)

International Friendly


Match Odds:


England – 1.40 Bet365

Draw – 5.00 SkyBet

Egypt – 10.00 SkyBet



As preparations for the forthcoming South African World Cup get under way, England fans, and Fabio Capello, will want to paint a better picture of whom will actually travel to South Africa as part of the 23 man strong England squad. Capello has been honest enough to say that most of the spots are done and dusted but you would have to imagine a good five of six tickets are still up for grabs and this rather boring internationals now take on even more significance as some surprise call ups could lead to some shock travellers this summer.




Everyone should have a rough idea of what the England starting eleven should look like on Wednesday, the usual three occupying the midfield in Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry, although the latter has come under some stinging criticism this season after what has been a poor season in terms of solid performances from Barry’s high standards. Michael Carrick, whom hasn’t exactly been a firm favourite for selection under Capello’s regime, could be the ideal candidate to snatch his place should he finish the season strongly with Man Utd. However, that’s the only real predictable part about guessing who will start on Wednesday as while we all have rough ideas of who will feature from the off, with injuries taking affect and of-pitch dramas adding yet more selection dilemmas, Capello could have his hand forced to make wholesale changes.




The defence is the key area for us, with a controversial John Terry the only realy certainty to start in the heart of the England defence. The remaining three points are all up for grabs what with Rio Ferdinand and Glen Johnson both out injured and Ashley Cole suffering a broke leg I believe. Wayne Bridge has also ruled himself out of selection so the full-back roles are anybody’s. We would hazard a wild guess that Leighton Baines could be in line for his full England début down in left-back while an unconvincing Wes Brown will surely seize the right-back role. John Terry’s centre-back partner will probably be Matthew Upson, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see Joeleon Lescott back in the England fray but he’s been largely disappointing this season and hasn’t been back from injury for too long, so Upson would be the logical selection there.


We mustn’t forget that Capello did surprise us all by picking Stephen Warnock and Ryan Shawcross, although perhaps that’s not surprising at all considering England frailties at the back right now. Both could feature at some point in the game, what would be Shawcross’s first ever appearance in an England shirt and just Warnock’s second, but we wouldn’t count on either getting a starting berth.




In goal is another intriguing area of debate in that England’s goalkeeping spot is still up for grabs with no keeper during the course of the season really stamping their mark on that Number 1 shirt. In fact, out of half-a-dozen possible candidates we can’t think of one that’s actually been consistent enough throughout the course of the campaign. However, there is one name that springs to mind, although we don’t fancy his chances of being in the forefront of Capello’s thoughts – Joe Hart. The Birmingham shot-stopper, whom is on-loan from Man City, has been superb in goal for Birmingham this season, leaving the ‘Brummie’ faithful ‘ooing’ and ‘ahing’ with some stunning saves. However, Hart has featured just once for England and, despite enjoying arguably the best goalkeeping spell out of the main contenders (David James, Robert Green), probably won’t be rewarded with the nod on Wednesday, although we feel he’s the only man who deserves it, with Green having a ‘blunderous’ season thus far and David James hardly being one to excel in the big games for England – Not that we’re saying this is a massive game, but David James is hardly a model for consistency in the crunch games so why he’s even in the squad is something that baffles me – Merely my honest opinion.




The huge boost for Capello is now his attacking options in that he has plenty of inform striking talent at his disposal, none more so than Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney who has been on fire in recent weeks, and for the entire season we must add. The former Scouser turned Red Devil scored his 28th goal of the season in the Carling Cup final at the weekend, the winning goal we must add, and his goalscoring momentum seizes to amaze us. However, it’s who he will line up alongside which is the question, an interesting one at that as there are several strong claims. Jermain Defoe has been enjoying his campaign with Tottenham and has been scoring goals a plenty at the forefront of the Spurs attack, although his striking partner at Tottenham, Peter Crouch, has now fallen down the ranks after a failure to score enough goals so he doesn’t look prominent to start from the off. Emile Heskey is a personal favourite for Capello as it gives England that ugly long ball option, with the Villa frontman able to use his superior physical prowess to his advantage in holding the ball and sufficiently supplying the on-running midfielders of on-song Wayne Rooney. While Heskey up front has proved a worthy and successful ploy for the Italian gaffer, we would instead prefer to look at either Jermaine Defoe, someone with a bit of pace and spice, or Carlton Cole, whom has similar attributes to Heskey but is far more versatile, quicker with his feet and a more composed finisher.




There is of course still this on-growing debate over who will start on the right-hand side of the midfield quarter at the finals and it’s something ever we’re clueless about. A fit and on form Theo Walcott would get our vote as his pace would strike so much fear into our opponents, but injuries have halted his progress this season. David Beckham needs little explaining, although it is unlikely the former England captain will start and will probably be used as a second half substitute instead. Shaun Wright-Philip’s is chosen in the squad again but has failed to impress in a handful of chances given to him by Fabio Capello, so, the only remaining position filler appers to be Stewart Downing, who has been in scintillating form for Villa in both areas of the pitch, and by that we mean both on the left and down the right. This is particularly useful for Capello as it would enable him to put Steven Gerrard onto the right, onto his preferred foot, which would then give England more versatility and options when going forward.


I’m sure there will be plenty of you out there trying to second guess Fabio so we’ve given it ago ourselves. This is how we think the England team will look at the start of proceedings for Wednesday nights clash with Egypt.


GK: David James

RB: Wes Brown

CB: John Terry

CB: Matthew Upson

LB: Leighton Baines

CM: Gareth Barry

CM: Frank Lampard

LM: Stewart Downing

RM: Steven Gerrard

FW: Wayne Rooney

FW: Carlton Cole



Betting perspective: If you’re looking to have a punt on the game, which isn’t something you should take lightly when it comes to International Friendlies, then perhaps caution is the word of the day considering England aren’t all that attractive in the betting markets. For the bases of fun, what with us loving our goalscorer punts, perhaps some small wagers on the FGS (First Goal Scorer) or the ‘to Score Anytime’ markets could be more up your street. There are a number of individuals looking to cement a place in the starting eleven for South Africa and a goal would go some way in impressing the disciplinarian, Fabio Capello.


Wayne Rooney: FGS – 7/2 Bet365 Anytime – 10/11 Bet365

Jermaine Defoe: FGS – 9/2 Bet365 Anytime 5/4 Bet365

Emile Heskey: FGS – 11/2 Bet365 Anytime 7/4 Bet365

Carlton Cole: FGS – 11/2 Bet365 Anytime 7/4 Bet365

Frank Lampard: FGS – 11/2 Bet365 Anytime 7/4 Bet365

Steven Gerrard: FGS – 7/1 Bet365 Anytime 9/4 Bet365

Stewart Downing: FGS – 16/1 Bet365 Anytime 4/1 Bet365

John Terry: FGS – 18/1 Bet365 Anytime 11/2 Bet365


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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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