England v Slovenia Friendly International

31st August 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

England Gear Up For Crucial Croatia Qualifier Match

England will square off in a friendly against Slovenia on Saturday, ahead of their crucial midweek game against Croatia. The only crucial aspect of the game on Wednesday will be the fact that Fabio Capello’s men could officially clinch their place in the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Already leading the group by a hefty 7 points thanks to a 100% winning record in the qualifying so far, they will be looking to secure their place with a victory.

Ahead of that, they face Slovenia who still have a good chance themselves of clinching second place in Group 3. Meanwhile Croatia will be playing Belarus at home in a Qualifier, looking to put a little pressure on Group Leaders England by closing the points gap. With games running out though, there will not be much they can do. Even if the Croatians beat Belarus and happen to Beat England, they will still be a point behind in the race for the top, with England having a game in hand. A win however against the Croatians will see England with the opportunity to start planning for South Africa next year. At the bookies, England are still around 1/50 (at Paddy Power) to win the qualifying group.

There are some player issues ahead of the International games, with Rio Ferdinand a noticeable absentee at the back. The Manchester United star is still out of action, and in all likelihood team-mate Wes Brown will fill the hole. Arsenal youngster Theo Walcott is still missing in action after hurting his back in the off-season, and Michael Owen is not going to get a look in anytime soon. Not until he can establish some form and, more importantly, start scoring regularly at Old Trafford. Peter Crouch hasn’t been favoured by Capello, but gets a recall, and the forward positions will likely be filled by Jermain Defoe and Carlton Cole.

In form Tottenham winger, Aaron Lennon gets drafted back into the squad for his attacking ability, but Goalkeeping still is, and is likely to be an issue for the England squad for some time to come. With David James falling by the wayside, Rob Green doing simply OK, and Manchester United’s Ben Foster showing consistency in inconsistency, the back four need to be solid. That having been said, it is pretty much a full fitness England squad which will be going into the next two games, and that is something which will be needed as they look for some form and confidence to take on the Croatians. A good thumping of the Slovenians may knock some stuffing out them, which will be greatly appreciated by Northern Ireland and their qualifying campaign.

England to win – 1/5 at William Hill
Draw – 11/2 at Boylesports
Slovenia to win – 14/1 at Bet365

BETTING TIP: Friendly matches are notoriously hard to predict, but England should prevail. The strikers especially will be looking to cement a place in the starting 11 for Wednesday and this could help spark some goals. Try England to win doubled up with Rooney to score first 4/1 at William Hill



The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+




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