Slovenia v England – Stadion Stozice at 19:45 live on ITV1
I’ll hold my hands up and admit I completely over-estimated England in Saturday’s Asian Handicap preview. Foolishly I backed them -4.25 on the AH market at what I thought was an attractive price of 2.40. The selection was well backed, beating the closing price, but England didn’t deliver.
The Three Lions now face a much tougher test as they travel to Slovenia. I will be staying clear of Gareth Southgate’s side, although they should prevail. I just have no confidence in them to cover -1 at 2.25.
The Slovenian’s currently sit third in group F behind England and Scotland. They opened their campaign with a far from convincing performance in Lithuania, drawing 2-2. That was followed up with a better display last Saturday, defeating Slovakia 1-0 in Ljubljana.
Srecko Katanec will be looking to avoid another qualification disappointment having failed to reach Euro 2016. In fact the last major finals they made was the World Cup in South Africa, 6 years ago. He has his work cut out though, as only one team gains automatic qualification out of the group. A win tonight would go a long way to making that a reality but that will be easier said than done.
Slovenia were drawn against England in their Euro 2016 qualification group, finishing third behind the Three Lions and Switzerland. They were defeated twice by Roy Hodgson’s men, 3-1 at Wembley and 2-3 in Ljubljana. They put up a good fight at home to England last June, taking a 1-0 lead into half time. It took an 86th minute winner from captain Wayne Rooney to rob the host of a point.
They have some talented individuals and with home advantage, should make this a tough test for Gareth Southgate. If England play as poorly as they did against Malta, they may just fancy their chances of a point here and with a +0.75 advantage on the Asian Handicap market, they should be considered at 2.09.
There has been a lot of talk about England being in a difficult situation, some even say something of a crisis. You can blame off the field distractions, but they are just simply not good enough where it matters, on the pitch.
The Sam Allardyce situation has passed, it is time to move on. He was only there for 67 days and one match! Yes stability is needed, but they had that with Roy Hodgson for 4 years and that didn’t help.
I expected England to come out fighting, silence the critics and bang in at least 5 against Malta, just as Scotland did last month. Instead we got a typically poor performance, that lacked coherence and ideas.
Now, all that being said, a win is a win, but if those performances continue, it could make qualifying a lot more difficult than first thought.
Their record in qualifying campaigns speaks for itself. 14 wins in a row and undefeated in 31 matches. A loss this evening then is unlikely then, no matter what the performance is like. But to be priced up at 1.67, away from home, in their current form, against a side they narrowly beat when looking a lot better just 16 months ago…. I don’t think so.
Despite my negativity towards England, I fully expect them to qualify out of this group, but improvements are needed. Before those improvements are apparent, I am steering clear of putting any money on them.
With England’s ridiculously short price, it give us an edge on the hosts. They were leading at half time when the two sides faced each other here last June and can be backed +0.5 on the HT Asian Handicap market at 1.70.
I think this is going to be a tight, low scoring match and one that could well go into half time goalless. Under 0.5 goals HT is tempting at 2.50.
England’s record is hard to deny, 14 wins in a row in qualifying is an excellent achievement. They could well nick this one but the value is with the hosts.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendations: Slovenia +0.5 HT at 1.70 & Slovenia +0.75 FT at 2.09
Prices correct at time of writing.
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