England v Japan Betting – last chance for Capello experimentation

29th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

England v Japan International Friendly betting. Betting on England at the World Cup may feel the full repercussions of Gareth Barry’s injury on Sunday. Having been given a little more time to prove his fitness, the potential loss of Barry could come to a head in England’s final International Friendly against Japan on the weekend. Even though England won their Wembley farewell match against a lively Mexico side, Fabio Capello cannot be too happy with what he saw. Nor can the hopeful England fans who will be backing their side heavily in World Cup odds. While there were none of Chelsea’s influential players in the line-up, Capello’s back up players did not really do themselves any great favours in a lack-lustre performance, in which they were outplayed for large parts of the game. James Milner was thrust into the middle with Frank Lampard absent, and failed to inject the quality that the Chelsea man delivers. Meanwhile the defensive midfield role was given to Manchester United’s Michael Carrick, who had a very forgettable and ineffective afternoon, and may have even played himself out of a starting place.

While the unfamiliar England back four also struggled for pace and positioning, the knowledge that Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole will be back, will ease some concerns there. But does Fabio Capello know what is best for England in midfield without Gareth Barry? How much will Barry’s absence effect the World Cup odds surrounding England? Lionel Messi may have stated that he fears England. World Cup rivals will take note of the price of England in the World Cup odds, which are around 7/1. Are there signs that England are drifting in the odds? It is clear that there is no direct back-up for Barry, who didn’t have the greatest of seasons at club level himself. But he worked well in the England midfield, supporting Frank Lampard, so he suddenly became very crucial to the set up. Tom Huddlestone was also given a run out, but looked uninterested instead of trying to impress for Barry’s place. Will Capello have to give more serious thought to changing formation? Ledley King and Jamie Carragher are options for holding midfielders, but they do not jump off the page in being ideal solutions for a World Cup campaign.

Now England will face another test against a lively side, as they meet Japan in Graz, Austria. Although it is late in the day, will Capello field the side upon which he has settled on fielding for England’s opener against the USA on June 12th, or will he use this one last opportunity to experiment in case Barry does not come through? One positive that Capello will probably have taken from the Mexico friendly, was the performance of Steven Gerrard playing just behind Wayne Rooney in a supporting role. There is a clear difference between the involvement and therefore influence on a game that Gerrard can have in that role, compared to him being stuck out on the left, or even pushed back into a defensive midfield role. Gerrard surely represents a bigger threat in the team doing that role, and it would mean that favoured partner for Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, gets pushed out. But Heskey allows Rooney to play in his most dangerous role, as proven in the impressive qualification campaign. There are decisions to be made.

So what will Capello lean towards, not only for the England v Japan fixture, but for their World Cup Fixtures to follow? Peter Crouch bundled in another goal in his impressive England record, but can he do what Heskey does for Rooney? Crouch offers variety and is therefore a dynamic substitute. But what of Steven Gerrard if Capello uses two strikers? Is it back to an ineffective position for him? These are questions and quandaries that the England boss does not have much longer to figure out. Just 90 minutes of football stand between England and their opening match in Rustenburg against the USA on June 12th. Plan A may still be in the pipeline, it all depends on the fitness of Gareth Barry. But what really is Plan B? Whatever the game plan against the Mexicans in the first half, certainly wasn’t much of one, but would it have all been different if it had been England’s preferred starting eleven? Who knows? One thing Japan will test England on, is pace at the back and competitiveness. Mexico kept the ball very well against England, but you would expect England to dominate possession, if Capello puts his World Cup eleven out.

Japan finished second in the Asian qualification zone behind Australia. In a recent send-off match, before heading to Austria to meet England, Japan were overturned 2-0 by the in form Korea Republic. Japan head to the World Cup to take on Cameroon, Denmark and Holland, and won’t be cheered by the performance against Korea Republic. The midfield really is the spark of the Japan team, but it if gets over run, or simply under performs, then the back bone of the team has gone, and they may struggle. Their energy and creativity through the middle though, will be a good test against England’s more stoic approach, and it will give Capello something different to think about, and see how his players react. This is the last outing England will get before the coach has to trim his squad down to the final 23. With the midfield being the major problem, will Capello take one last long look at alternatives? England do not need to win against Japan. They simply need to show confidence that they can execute a Plan B.

International Friendly
England to win: 2/7 at SkyBet
Draw: 9/2 at Bet365
Japan to win: 11/1 at Ladbrokes


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