Slovakia v England – Stade Geoffroy Guichard at 20:00 live on ITV
Here we are at the final round of group matches and England are sitting pretty at the top of Group B with four points, which in reality is already enough to see them progress through to the round of Last 16.
When going in 1-0 down at half time against Wales on Thursday afternoon, the Last 16 seemed a very long way off for Roy Hodgson and his team. But, after bringing on Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge (45mins late in most peoples opinion), Roy’s fortunes were reversed and England ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a late winner from Sturridge.
That result will have given the squad a huge confidence boost and they should come flying into this final match of the group phase, looking to cement their place at the top of the table. If they do win the group, a match against the 3rd place finisher from either group A, C or D awaits in the Last 16.
With the way that those groups are shaping up, that could mean England’s first knockout phase match is against either Romania or Northern Ireland! But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, there is a tough game against Slovakia to negotiate first.
For me, Slovakia are the second best side in Group B, despite losing their opening group match against Wales. Although, to be fair to the Welsh, there really is not much in it at all, but England should definitely be able to overcome the former Czechoslovakian state on Monday night.
Star man Marek Hamsik and ex-Manchester City player Vladimir Weiss were the architects of Slovakia’s victory against Russia on Wednesday afternoon and they both scored & assisted each other in the process.
If they play as well as they did in that match, England’s defence will have a tough job containing the Slovakian’s pacey and creative attacks. Hamsik’s strike for their second goal was truly world class and he will be the best player (on form) that Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill have to face so far in the competition.
With Wales also on three points like Slovakia, but facing a demoralised Russian side in the final game, Jan Kozak will know that his team really need to beat England to guarantee a place in the Last 16 of the competition.
At the time of writing, it is a little early to talk about any potential changes to either team but, I think it is safe to say that both Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge did their chances no harm at all by scoring in the win over Wales. Another change I would be keen on Hodgson making is bringing in Jack Wilshere for Bamidele Alli, the young Spurs man looks like he’s played one game too many this season. Plus, with Kane likely to be on the bench, their partnership is already broken & Wilshere’s quality on the ball is badly needed.
Currently the betting markets have England as 1.75 favourites to win the match, which is a slightly bigger price than they went off against Wales. At this price the Asian Handicap line is +/-0.75 and the Asian Handicap Total Goals line, currently sits at 2.25.
Although, I do think England should win this game, you can never be 100% confident with the Three Lions at the moment and with the attacking talent on display in both teams I have to recommend a play in the goals market instead.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.25 Goals at 2.02
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