England has already qualified for the UEFA European Championship, which effectively renders the fixture with Estonia at Wembley on Friday, October 9 meaningless. To have any hope of qualifying, Estonia must not only beat England, but also rely on perennial European whipping boys San Marino to take at least a point off Switzerland in Bern. According to our friends at Oddschecker, both eventualities are 25/1, so only diehard visiting fans are likely to make the trip to northwest London on Friday.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has expressed his hope that Roy Hodgson will spare Wayne Rooney for at least one of the two remaining qualifying fixtures against Estonia and Lithuania (on Monday). Hodgson, for his part, has expressed his desire to finish with a perfect record and hinted that he is more likely to ‘experiment’ in the game against Lithuania, so it will be a surprise if Rooney doesn’t take at least some part on Friday.
It’s worth remembering that only a Wayne Rooney free-kick separated the teams in Tallinn in October, after the hosts were reduced to ten men early in the second half, so there may not be as much between as the 1-x-2 odds of 1/6, 8/1 and 28/1 suggest. Complacency, on the part of the home side, is always a possibility, but there should be no lack of ambition on the part of Jamie Vardy, or debutantes Danny Ings and Delle Alli, if called upon.
With 77 places between the teams, according to official FIFA rankings, and Estonia all but eliminated, an early England goal could put the visitors firmly on the back foot, so let’s try a punt on the Three Lions to win 3-0!
Selection: England to beat Estonia 3-0 (5/1 with Bet365)