England’s players desperate to swap their football boots for flip-flops and the substitutes bench for a sun lounger, have to wait a little longer as the small matter of a programme of Euro 2012 qualifiers bookends a long, gruelling campaign.
In the absence of Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Andy Carroll and Steven Gerrard, Fabio Capello will be forced to field a somewhat depleted attacking line-up as Switzerland visit Wembley on Saturday, but his England side remain strong favourites to come out on top, Betdaq pricing the hosts at 1.4 (2/5) to rack up a fourth win in five in Group G.
The Swiss arrive as Sportingbet’s 8/1 outsiders while Totesport make them 10/3 to follow Montenegro’s example by holding England to a draw but it’s hard to see past Capello’s troops, who have already defeated Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men 3-1 in a qualifier in Basel back in September.
Nevertheless, the visitors can at least make life tough for England, who may lack cutting edge with so many strikers missing and William Hill’s 12/5 for them to prevail by a one-goal margin isn’t without appeal.
At the other end, with a full-strength defence available, Capello’s charges shouldn’t have too many problems and there’s a strong chance that the ‘Three Lions’ will combine victory with a clean sheet, an outcome Partybets chalk up at even money. More specifically, it’s 11/2 courtesy of Ladbrokes for England to shade it 1-0 and that result would be good news for those backing the match at 10/11 (Stan James) to produce fewer than 2.5 goals.
Elsewhere, the home side may have to be patient against a Swiss team that will attempt to keep things tight, so Betfred’s 10/3 for England to emerge victorious after a drawn first half catches the eye and Paddy Power post an enticing 10/11 against the deadlock being broken after the 24th minute.
Darren Bent is the favourite to fire that opening goal at 7/2 with Coral but with a host of forward players missing, the first goal could come from a slightly less likely source and Ashley Young might be worth a modest flutter at 15/2 () to put England 1-0 in front. The Aston Villa winger meanwhile, is rated at 12/5 by bet365 to get on the scoresheet at any stage.