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It is fair to say that there is a lot of footballing history between England and Scotland. In fact, the two neighbours played in the first official game of international football in 1872. There have been 112 meetings in the time since and match number 113 takes place this Friday at Wembley Stadium.
There is always lots of pride at stake when England take on Scotland but there are more pressing concerns this time around. Namely, qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
England currently sit top of Group F despite some disappointing performances so far. The Three Lions just about got a win in their first and only game under Sam Allardyce away to Slovakia, comfortably beating Malta at home, but were unable to get past a stubborn Slovenia in Ljubljana.
Scotland can draw level on points with England if they manage to win at Wembley but few of their fans are in expectant mood. The pressure on Gordon Strachan’s shoulders has intensified over the course of their poor opening three games. Scotland were rocked away in Malta before a horrible refereeing decision limited the hosts to 10 men, they drew 1-1 at home to Lithuania and were humbled 3-0 away to Slovakia.
England 4/11 (William Hill)
Draw 15/4 (888Sport)
Scotland 9/1 (Winner)
Scotland – and Strachan in particular – will be pinning their hopes at Wembley on the recall of Scott Brown after he overturned his decision to retire in the summer. It’s not yet clear how long Brown will remain available for selection but there is no doubt that Scotland are a better team with him in the heart of their midfield.
Brown will hope that a physical performance will make life very difficult for Gareth Southgate’s team. The temporary England manager has made some changes to his squad and it is far from clear what his best XI looks like. England will have to keep Brown quiet in the middle but the hosts’ biggest concern will be up and coming RB Leipzig forward, Oliver Burke.
Strachan has some real quality to call upon but Scotland do look short of the levels required to steal a massive result at Wembley.
England generally live up to expectations in qualifying. The players will be hoping that a derby against the old enemy from north of the border will fire the fans up and in turn that England can win back some of their jaded support. The home side are odds on favourites with the bookies and should oblige at best odds of 4/11 with William Hill.
England 2-0 @ 5/1 (William Hill)
England 1-0 @ 9/2 (Ladbrokes)
England 2-1 @ 8/1 (Coral)
England 3-0 @ 17/2 (Paddy Power)
Draw 1-1 @ 17/2 (William Hill)
Draw 0-0 @ 10/1 (Paddy Power)
There is sure to be a great amount of nervousness amongst both sets of players when they take to the pitch on Friday night. The worry is that the players and managers will go into their shells and be primarily concerned with keeping things tight and not losing. However, the most recent two encounters between England and Scotland contained nine goals. Furthermore, both teams scored in each of those friendlies so it could pay to expect more goals this time around.
England wins dominate the top of the Correct Score Market. That is to be expected. But, with Scotland’s talent and desire to win, make sure to plump for a scoreline in which both teams score. England 2-1 looks like a solid option at 8/1 with Coral.
Harry Kane 7/2 (Bet365)
Daniel Sturridge 4/1 (Bet365)
Jamie Vardy 9/2 (Bet365)
Marcus Rashford 9/2 (Betfred)
Wayne Rooney 5/1 (Bet365)
Theo Walcott 11/2 (Bet365)
Raheem Sterling 7/1 (Paddy Power)
Adam Lallana 8/1 (Bet365)
England are going to need their goalscorers to step up against Scotland. The home side are sure to have the majority of possession but that will count for nothing unless somebody can take their chances.
This is the sort of game that an in-form Wayne Rooney would take by the scruff of the neck. The England captain loves leading by example but he is so short of form Southgate may not even choose to start Rooney let alone play him up front. There are also question marks about Harry Kane who couldn’t complete 90 minutes on the weekend after returning from injury and Jamie Vardy who only has two Premier League goals this season.
That could open the door for Raheem Sterling. The Man City forward was targeted specifically by the England boo boys over the summer but he’s shown no sign of a Euro 2016 hangover. Sterling has played in a variety of positions for City but retains a real goal threat wherever he plays. His pace, trickery and confidence in front of goal make him look a good First Goalscorer bet at 7/1 with Paddy Power.
England to win at 4/11 with William Hill
Raheem Sterling to score first at 7/1 with Paddy Power
Coral are offering a good offer for new customers who wish to signup. They are offering England at 28/1 or Scotland at 40/1 as a huge enhanced odds offer. Use the coupon below to see the full offer details.
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