England face Scotland at Wembley in their World Cup qualifier on Friday night, and it is hard to see anything other than a win for the Three Lions, although they make little appeal at 1/3, with the Scots 19/2 and the draw 19/5.
This will be the third time the sides have met in an international this century with England winning the other two, although the last competitive game between the nations resulted in a 1-0 win for Scotland, courtesy of Don Hutchison’s goal at Wembley in the second leg of a Euro 2000 qualifying play-off tie in 1999.
That said, two Paul Scholes goals in the first leg at Hampden Park meant it was England who qualified for the tournament, which was co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands. Those of you with long memories, or just old, may remember this was the tournament where England needed just a point against mighty Romania to qualify for the quarter-finals from their final group game and were on the brink of doing so until Phil Neville conceded a last-minute penalty. I have never forgiven him!
England have a host of forwards in the squad for Friday night, although Harry Kane is the only one who is currently first choice for his club, with Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney all spending long periods on the bench so far this term.
Caretaker manager Gareth Southgate has a tough decision to make, given Kane only returned to the Spurs side at the Emirates on Sunday. Kane is 18/5 to score the opener, Sturridge 4s, Vardy and Rashford 9/2 and Rooney 5s.
England are currently unbeaten in their last 32 international qualifiers and, surprisingly perhaps, the last ten goals scored by the Three Lions in qualification have come from ten different players. Well it surprised me!
Sturridge has yet to score in the Premier League so far this season, albeit with limited opportunities, but I thought he looked sharp against Watford last weekend, despite missing a number of half-chances.
I feel England will win 3-1, which is 13/1, although Dele Alli is a significant loss for Southgate, who is now 1/2 to be named the next permanent England manager, with Roberto Mancini 4s, Arsene Wenger 6s and 14s bar.
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