Friday, 9 June 2017

Scotland vs England - World Cup Qualifier - 10th June

Hampden Park will host another clash of one of the most historical derbies in football on June 10th. England and Scotland will face each other in Group F of the UEFA qualifiers for the next World Cup. The first encounter ended with a 3-0 bashing from England, who continue to lead the group with 13 points (4 wins, 1 draw). Scotland, on the other hand, are lagging behind fighting for the playoff spot, with 7 points (2 wins, 1 draw, 2 loses).

England are riding the qualifiers with ease. Gareth Southgate’s team is a solid one in defense. They haven't conceded a single goal yet, and although their offensive power may be lacking (with only 8 goals), it’s sufficient to beat most opposition. Harry Kane will attempt to repeat his amazing performance this season for Tottenham with the national team, where he hasn't quite replicated that level of play. Not only that, he will be replacing Wayne Rooney as the captain for the first time. Although the starting lineup is not yet confirmed, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Adam Lallana, Dele Alli, Sterling or Oxlade-Chambers back Kane up front, making this a powerful team capable of hurting any defense. Eric Dier will probably start as the only defensive midfielder.

Scotland are well aware of their position as the underdog in this match, as their manager Gordon Strachan said at the pre-match press conference: “We'll have to play at our very best, at the top of our capabilities. If we do that then we give ourselves a chance”. This to me shows that they are up for the contest. Leigh Griffiths will most probably be starting as the main striker. Griffiths closed a great season with Celtic, but this likely won't be enough against elite defenders such as Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling. 

Scotland usually demonstrate a decent defense and a combative midfield. Their lack of creativity against stronger teams is usually their main issue. Robert Snodgrass will be key to providing Griffiths some chances. If the West Ham midfielder has a good performance, there might be hope for the local team. Their fragile position in the qualifiers will force them to try to win the match at any cost. It's 'go for broke' territory!

With that being said, the clear favorite for this encounter is England. At 8/11 for a win I foresee a probable win for the team. At 6/5, a Harry Kane goal is also a viable betting option. An interesting market that some bookmakers are offering is “Win both halves” for England. At 15/4 this looks like a decent bet. It's certainly a plausible outcome. If England manage to score in the first half, Scotland will have to be be more attacking as they need a win, opening up spaces for counterattacks in the second half.

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