After a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign, England begin their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign this Sunday against Slovakia. It can often be difficult finding an edge on international football. However, there is some value on this one on the Asian Handicap betting market.
This fixture is a repeat of the Three Lions’ last group match in the European Championships over the Summer. England needed a win to top their group, but could only manage a 0-0 draw, finishing second behind Wales. That left Slovakia in third place, scraping through as one of 4 third place teams.
England’s tournament ended against Iceland in the last 16, losing 2-1, which was Roy Hodgson’s last match in charge.
Allardyce was appointed manager and will do well to qualify in the same style as Hodgson did for the Euro’s. England won all 10 of their Euro qualifying matches, scoring 31 goals, conceding just 3 times.
Big Sam has already made some changes to the squad, with Rashford, Barkley and Wilshere all left at home. Wayne Rooney remains captain, listed as a midfielder along with Theo Walcott. Danny Drinkwater is back in the squad after missing out on a place in France along with Jagielka and Shaw.
The headlines though have focused on the addition of West Ham’s Michail Antonio. The 26 year old has already scored twice this season in the Premier League and should he feature, will be a threat going forward.
This will be England’s first match under their new manager and are to some extent an unknown quantity. Sam Allardyce holds a solid club record having never been relegated. This is a different challenge though, anything other than a win here will be seen as a poor result.
Slovakia coach, Jan Kozak has made his own changes since the Euro’s. He has been bold in cutting four of his most experienced players. Marek Hamsik remains in the squad, a player England will have to watch closely.
In a qualifying a qualifying group that includes Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia and Scotland, Kozak will fancy his chances of making it to Russia. Home matches are important in doing so and he will want to avoid an opening match defeat at all costs.
A draw here for Slovakia would be a result. Allardyce though, will expect the hosts to play defensively. It will be a tight match but Big Sam has the nous and quality in his side to open the campaign and career as England manager with a win.
This is a tough first match England but I expect another strong qualifying campaign. They are the value on the Asian Handicap betting market -0.5 at 2.08. It may not be pretty though!
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: England -0.5 at 2.08
Prices correct at time of writing,
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