Depending on the result in Kharkiv, where Ukraine tackle Poland, a victory for England against Montenegro on Friday night could virtually, though not quite mathematically, guarantee that Roy Hodgson’s men will participate in the next year’s World Cup finals.
Any outcome other than a Ukraine success will be great news for the Three Lions, who are 2/5 with Stan James to keep up their side of the bargain by picking up maximum points at Wembley and a first defeat of the qualifying campaign is an 8/1 shot courtesy of BetVictor.
William Hill post 7/2 against a stalemate, which will certainly lure some punters given that England have shared the spoils in half of their games so far, including the reverse fixture against Montenegro and a repeat of the 1-1 scoreline from that Podgorica clash is on offer at 8/1 via Skybet.
On home soil however, Hodgson’s charges should get the job done, especially as the England boss has a few more options open to him in terms of selection than he had in Kiev a month ago and as the Three Lions have conceded just three goals in eight Group H outings, betway’s 5/4 for them to prevail ‘to nil’ isn’t without appeal.
More specifically, BetVictor chalk England up at 6/1 to grab the only goal, those expecting a one-goal margin of victory for the hosts (13/5, bet365) can tackle William Hill’s 11/2 about Hodgson’s troops firing the only goal and it’s 10/3 courtesy of Stan James for a home success secured on the back of an even first period.
In attack, England can call on Wayne Rooney, who struck when the pair last met but missed out on the last couple of Three Lions assignments with a head injury. The United front man, perhaps not surprisingly, is a strong favourite at 7/2 (bet365) to break the deadlock but at a chunkier 5/1 with Ladbrokes, Daniel Sturridge might represent better value.
The Liverpool striker is the Premier League’s top scorer with six in seven and will be relishing the opportunity to transfer that form to the international arena on Friday evening.