International betting preview
After a feast of football derbies last weekend the game eases into the international break this week with England up against perennial whipping boys, San Marino, this Friday.
It has been a tough couple of weeks for England and their coach Roy Hodgson. John Terry, arguably England’s most impressive defender at Euro 2012, retired from the international scene before he could be pushed, the manager then made the mistake of talking to passengers on the tube, who promptly sold his alleged words to the press and Ashley Cole took to Twitter as everyone imagined he would, by aiming a foul-mouthed tweet in the direction of his employers, just two games shy of his century for England.
San Marino then, should be perfect opposition for England. The FA will be hoping that England can rack up a cricket score against the joint lowest ranked team in the world (along with Bhutan and the Turks and Caicos Islands) and push the negative headlines to one side.
San Marino have continuity in their coach, Giampaolo Mazza, who is the longest serving national manager in association football, but this considered approach has still yet to see them pick up a single point on the FIFA world rankings system.
The microstate failed to score a goal in their qualifying campaign for EURO 2012 and the Netherlands put double figures past them in the home fixture between the two, so the question at Wembley on Friday will be all about how many England can score.
Robin Van Persie scored four as the Dutch thumped 11 past San Marino in Eindhoven and an England win by the same margin is 40/1 with bet365 and Ladbrokes. The minnows conceded 53 times in their 10 qualifying games for EURO 2012 so money on England to win by five or more looks almost certain at 7/10.
The only other market worth tapping into from this fixture is the first scorer market. Andy Carroll is unlikely to start having returned from injury and Jermain Defoe sat out training on Tuesday. Wayne Rooney looks likely to lead the line and is 9/4 to score first. Alternatively England could make the breakthrough via a set-piece and having earned a second international call-up, Ryan Shawcross will be hoping to make an appearance and grab a goal at 10/3.
Wales host Scotland with new manager, Chris Coleman, still in search of his first point for Wales. At least Gareth Bale’s superb free-kick (in a 6-1 defeat) removed the statistic of no goals scored for, that had hung over Coleman but they will need to beat Scotland to remain any hope of challenging Belgium or Serbia at the top of Group A. Scotland will be inspired by the return of Steven Fletcher after the Sunderland hit man seemingly made his peace with Craig Levein. Both teams will need a win, so I don’t expect any caution to be shown, back both teams to score at 5/6.
Elsewhere in Europe, Kazakhstan host Austria and at 7/10 the Austrians look excellent value. They pushed Germany very close in their first qualifying game and with young striker Martin Harnik and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, Austria should have enough to overcome Kazakhstan.
Over in the CONMEBOL qualifying section, Colombia will be hoping to continue their ascent against Paraguay. Colombia are up to ninth in the FIFA world rankings, not least on the back of a 4-0 win over Uruguay, and any team with Falcao will score goals. Colombia are far from a one man team though; with James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez both catching the eye for Porto in recent weeks. Against a Paraguay side who are marooned at the bottom of the CONMEBOL qualifying table, I can’t see anything other than a home win at 4/7.
Betfair’s offer is a £20 risk free bet and the opportunity to earn up to £1,000 cashback in your first 30 days as a player. Make any bet of £20 or over and if it loses Betfair will give you a free £20 bet to use as you see fit.
US bettors – use BetOnline. Currently offering a $900 sign-up bonus!