WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on ITV: Fri 19.30: The papers bemoaned England after their opening 1-1 draw with the USA, but surely Capello’s men will more than make up for it against Algeria.
The headline writers were predictably cruel in the wake of Robert Green’s howler for England against USA; ‘The Hand of Clod’ adorning at least two front pages on Sunday morning, and it remains to be seen whether the West Ham ‘keeper will keep his place in the starting line-up for the clash with Algeria. William Hill make England boss Fabio Capello odds-on at 4/6 to stick by his under-fire stopper but that decision notwithstanding, his team are emphatic favourites at 1/4 with Betdaq to get the better of the Desert Foxes; Betfred’s 10/1 outsiders.
Rabah Saadane’s troops had goalkeeping problems of their own in their opening fixture against Slovenia, Faouzi Chaouchi’s late blunder condemning them to a 1-0 defeat in Polokwane and with the England attack likely to place the Algerian rearguard under more pressure than the Slovenians, a maximum haul for the ‘Three Lions’ looks inevitable.
However, Capello’s men failed to shine on Saturday so this contest may prove to be less straightforward than the bookies think, especially as their opponents are no pushovers and have the pace to trouble a disrupted backline. Subsequently, England may have to ‘settle’ for a win by a one-goal margin (3/1, Ladbrokes) and at 6/1 with 888Sport, another 1-0 reverse for Saadane’s side could be on the cards.
Certainly the clash looks set to continue the trend of low-scoring matches and so despite bookies’ belief that it will produce more than 2.5 goals, Jaxx.com offering that outcome at 4/5, shrewd punters should speculate on a tally lower than that figure at evens courtesy of William Hill. The main rationale behind that bet is the likelihood that a fairly toothless Algeria will draw a blank and Paddy Power post 8/15 against an England clean sheet while Partybets quote 10/11 for Capello’s men to win ‘to nil’.
Peter Crouch will be rubbing his hands at the prospect of facing an Algerian defence that struggles so often at set pieces and the towering Spurs marksman can be backed at either 6/4 (bet365) to strike at some stage or 11/2 with Stan James to break the deadlock, although England are unlikely to be as quickly out of the blocks as they were against the Unites States and indeed, may have to wait for the breakthrough. A level first period shouldn’t be ruled out then at 13/8 with Totesport while Victor Chandler’s 7/2 for Capello’s side to emerge triumphant following that drawn opening half could reward the brave.