Live on BBC1: Fri 19.45: Solid but unspectacular would probably be a reasonably fair assessment of England’s performance in their Euro 2012 opener against France and up against a side on such a lengthy unbeaten run Roy Hodgson will certainly be pleased with the point gained in Donetsk.
However, the Three Lions will need to be more of an attacking force in their second match against Sweden, whose defeat to Ukraine leaves them needing to pick up a result against Hodgson’s charges in the Donbass Arena.
Coral have installed England as 11/10 favourites to secure a vital three points while Erik Hamren’s men are 3/1 with Stan James to force their way right back into the qualification picture and another draw for the Three Lions is a 12/5 chance via Skybet.
Four of the pair’s last six meetings have finished all square and that could encourage punters to back England at 11/2 (BetVictor) to again play out a 1-1 stalemate but rocked by Monday’s loss and with scathing criticism from Hamren ringing in their ears, the Swedes could be vulnerable.
A 1-0 triumph for Hodgson’s troops, a repeat of the result from the duo’s friendly last November, stands out then at 6/1 courtesy of William Hill and Ladbrokes post 11/4 against an England success by a one-goal margin.
In a potentially tight affair, bet365 rate Hodgson’s side at 12/5 to emerge triumphant following an even first period and as both teams know the implications of defeat, it could be a cautious opening so a case can be made for the first goal to arrive after the 27th minute, an outcome Betfred offer at 20/21.
Danny Welbeck, who performed well in the lone striker role against France, is a 7/1 shot at Boylesports to be the man responsible for breaking the deadlock and Paddy Power price the Manchester United forward at an enticing 23/10 to get on the scoresheet at any time.
Nevertheless, it looks set to be a low-scoring affair, hence Skybet’s 4/6 for there to be fewer than three goals and with that in mind, some punters might wish to hedge their bets a touch by backing Hodgson’s team at 1/2 in bet365’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
England to beat Sweden by a one-goal margin – 11/4 (Ladbrokes)