England vs Belgium
England vs Belgium betting
England’s last game before Euro 2012, and Roy Hodgson’s second in charge of his country is here this Saturday. A decent win over Norway last week eased the new manager in, but this is a tougher task, and the performance here a little more important.
Thankfully for England, they have everyone available to them for this game, unlike last week when the Chelsea players and Wayne Rooney got a little extra rest. They were not really missed in a rather dull game that England had control of. The livewire was Ashley Young, who fizzed in and around lone striker Andy Carroll. Carroll may have done enough in that game to convince his manager to play him in Wayne Rooney’s absence, whilst Young looked like he could be the key to England’s performances this summer.
The downsides have come this week, as they always do with England. Gareth Barry sustained an injury in that game that has ruled him out of the tournament, and Frank Lampard has suffered a similar fate in training this week. Phil Jagielka and Jordan Henderson have been drafted in, hardly convincing replacements but clearly at the bottom of Hodgson’s selection list now.
Gerrard and Parker formed an effective partnership in that game, but that needs to be tested by better opponents, and they will find that this weekend. The injuries seem to have helped the team pick itself. Glen Johnson and Danny Welbeck are still unlikely to play this week, so the only question is who plays in central defence, and most likely who partners John Terry. Many will hope the wings also have a reshuffle, with neither Downing or Walcott impressing last week, nor in good form. Both will find the going harder here, and must improve to have any impact. Make sure you check out our Euro 2012 free bets section.
With a young squad full of some very talented players and much potential it was a massive surprise for the Belgians to not even make the playoffs in the European Championship qualifying. There is no shame in finishing behind group winners Germany, but they would have expected to take second place over Turkey. If you do not know much about Belgium, then some of the names in their squad may well make you realise how good a side they could be.
Starting from the back they have Sunderland’s number one Simon Mignolet, already an established Premier League goalkeeper at the age of 23. Their defence, and side, is lead by captain Vincent Kompany, Manchester City’s Premier League winning captain, with Thomas Vermaelen, Daniel Van Buyten and Spurs target Jan Vertonghen for company.
Their midfield and attacking talents are really something too. Everton’s Fellaini, Fulham’s Dembele and another talent in Steven Defour are some choice midfielders, yet the big name is Eden Hazard, who is expected to join Chelsea this summer in a deal worth over £30m. The 21 year old is their jewel in the crown, a talent chased by major clubs and compared to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. Even up front they have Chelsea’s potential talent Romelu Lukaku and highly rated striker Kevin Mirallas.
All this make them a team to watch, although recent form suggests missing out on Euro 2012 has taken the edge off them, and with a lot of young talent they may well need time to come together as a team. But with those names, it is clear England have a task on their hands.
Match Prediction: England Win –1.62 Bet 365
The mood around England this summer is one of complete negativity, which in the long run might help the nation’s usually overbearing expectations. England are certainly a better side than Belgium, with more talent across the park, and a win here will be a boost to confidence. Manager Hodgson will undoubtedly be more interested in his team’s performance rather than the result, and Belgium will likely be looking to prove their worth in front of a large audience and at Wembley.
There will likely be many substitutions in the second half too, and this usually slows down the games. But with little to lose for the Belgians, and players on both teams certainly having something to prove, whether it be their worthiness to play come France next week or their ability to shine even though they have not qualified, so there could end up being a rather attacking game of football on show.
It’s this little extra effort that the England players will put in, the importance of the game to them compared to Belgium, that should push England over the line, plus that little extra bit of class and experience. Hodgson will not want this to be too open, and he will make the six changes he can (in all likelihood), so the game could also find it fizzles out in the second half.
For England, Ashley Young is proving a fireball to contain behind the striker. Carroll uses his size to great effect, winning balls and making space for midfield runners, and Young took full advantage of this with his goal last week. Gerrard is another who likes to drive into space, and both these men are good shouts for first goals.
From here expect Belgium to try come at England, and both teams are capable of scoring. 2-1, as the game quietens down, looks a good bet.
Over/Under: Over 2.5 Goals – 1.91 William Hill
First Goalscorer: Ashley Young – 7.00 Sky Bet
Correct Score: 2-1 England Win – 8.5 William Hill
England – 1.62 Bet 365
Draw – 4.00 Paddy Power
Belgium – 7.00 BoyleSports
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