A footballing lesson

Seriously? Spain as good as 10/11 to beat England this weekend? There must be some mistake.

A footballing lesson

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November 11th, 2011

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Adrian Chiles will be trying his very hardest to talk up England’s exercise in futility on Saturday afternoon, as Fabio Capello sends out a side of young whippersnappers and some not-so-young whippersnappers to be taught how to play football.

It seems strange that a team considered to be the seventh best in the world needs to be told that successful football consists of much more intricate skills than the simple “hoof it up to the big guy” approach but then again, the fact that England are considered the seventh best side in the world in the first place is somewhat baffling.

And the seventh best team in the world will have to make do with a slightly rejigged team, thanks in no small part to a Wayne Rooney’s kung-fu attempts in Montenegro.

Rooney, whilst technically available, has been told to take the week off by Fabio Capello, who has decided that he needs to find out how to get a remotely competitive team together for the three Euro 2012 games that Rooney won’t be able to play in.

Gabriel Agbonlahor has seen the impending disaster and sustained an injury that will save him from embarrassment, so Darren Bent, Daniel Sturridge, Bobby Zamora and Danny Welbeck will fight it out for the job of chasing shadows for an hour and a half.

So onto the betting and we think that the bookies are being a touch generous at pricing up a strong Spanish squad at 10/11, although the Spain to win ‘to-nil’ market is tempting at 12/5 with BlueSQ. England lack any real firepower without Rooney and have failed to score in their last three fixtures against Spain.

So that’s our pick for this clash and, if you’re so inclined, we’d recommend adding to that by taking up Bet365 on their offer of 5/4 on Ireland doing what they do best – keeping clean sheets – against Estonia.

It’s a Euro 2012 play-off first leg for the Republic and so it’s time to bring out the usual Euro 2012 play-off first leg clichés like “cagey affair”, “give nothing away”, “tense atmosphere” and “it’s only the first half”.

Because of such clichés, we think that will add to their impressive record of only conceding one goal in their last 861 minutes of international football – and that was a consolation goal for Armenia.

Our Picks

England vs Spain: Spain to win ‘to-nil’ – 12/5 (BlueSQ)

Estonia vs Ireland: Ireland to keep a clean sheet – 5/4 (Bet365)

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